Apple investors announces class action lawsuit

Bernstein Liebhard LLP recently announced that a class action has been filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of all persons or entities (the “Class”) who purchased the common stock of Apple Inc. during the period between November 2, 2018 and January 2, 2019 (the “Class Period”).  The complaint alleges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 

Apple designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, consumer software, and online services.  The Company’s most well-known products include the iPad tablet, the Mac personal computer, and the iPhone smartphone. The iPhone was responsible for generating nearly two-thirds of Apple’s revenue in 2018.

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants made materially false and misleading statements and/or failed to disclose adverse information regarding Apple’s business and prospects. Specifically, defendants failed to disclose that: (a) the U.S.-China trade war had negatively impacted demand for iPhones and Apple’s pricing power in greater China; (b) due to Apple discounting the cost of replacement batteries to make up for the Company’s prior conduct of intentionally degrading the performance of the batteries in older iPhones, the rate at which Apple customers were replacing their batteries in older iPhones, rather than purchasing new iPhones, was negatively impacting Apple’s iPhone sales growth; (c) as a result of slowing demand, Apple had slashed production orders from suppliers for the new 2018 iPhone models and cut prices to reduce inventory; and (d) defendants’ decision to withhold unit sales for iPhones and other hardware, which was a metric relevant to investors and their view of the Company’s financial performance, was designed to and would mask declines in unit sales of the iPhone.  As a result defendants’ failure to disclose this information, the price of Apple stock was artificially inflated during the Class Period. 

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On January 2, 2019, after the close of trading, Apple disclosed that first quarter fiscal 2019 revenues would be $84 billion- approximately $5 billion below the low-end of the forecasted range that the Company had announced just eight weeks earlier on November 1, 2018, due to falling iPhone sales in China.  China is Apple’s third-largest market for iPhones behind only the United States and Europe.  The Company also admitted that price cuts to replacement batteries, stemming from the Company’s prior conduct of intentionally reducing the performance of batteries in older iPhones, was negatively impacting iPhone sales growth.

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On this news, Apple common stock fell more than $15 per share, or over 9%, to close at $142.19 per share on January 3, 2019.  

Plaintiffs seek to recover damages on behalf of all Class members who invested in Apple common stock during the Class Period.  If you invested in Apple common stock as described above, and lost money on the transactions, you may wish to join in this action to serve as lead plaintiff.  In order to do so, you must meet certain requirements set forth in the applicable law and file appropriate papers no later than June 17, 2019.

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A “lead plaintiff” is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation.  In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the court must determine that the class member’s claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class.  Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as lead plaintiff.  Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff.  You may retain Bernstein Liebhard LLP, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.

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