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Bessemer tangled up in multi-million Dollar lawsuit related to Intego

May 2012 by

A lawsuit filed by a minority shareholder in Federal District Court in New York asserts that three limited partnerships controlled by venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners (“Bessemer”) breached fiduciary duties and contracts through abuse of a dominant position as controlling shareholder of Neutral Holdings, Inc. (“NHI”), the holding company of the leading Mac security software firm Intego.

The multi-million dollar complaint makes very serious claims against Bessemer, in particular that:

Bessemer refused to provide books and records for inspection;
Bessemer breached the stockholders’ agreement that was in force;
Bessemer breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and
Bessemer breached fiduciary duties as a collective controlling stockholder.

Bessemer is a major player in the venture capital industry. Bessemer has offices in the United States, India and Israel, and manages more than $4 billion of venture capital invested in over 130 companies around the world. Mr. Jeremy Levine, a partner in Bessemer’s New York office, has attended court sessions for Bessemer. Levine is also a Director of Intego and NHI.

Intego develops and sells Internet security and privacy software for the Apple platform. Intego, founded in 1997, is notably the publisher of VirusBarrier, the acclaimed antivirus software that Macworld magazine calls “the gold standard”, as well as other renowned security software for Mac.

The lawsuit is Transeo vs. Bessemer Venture Partners VI L.P., Bessemer Venture Partners VI Institutional L.P., and Bessemer Venture Partners Co-Investment L.P., 11 CV 5331 (S.D.N.Y.)(CS)(PED).

The court docket reflects that efforts by a U.S. Magistrate Judge to settle the case in New York in April 2012 were unsuccessful.

The District Court previously invited the plaintiff to amend its complaint to add further claims against Bessemer, which the plaintiff plans to do shortly.

The plaintiff, who is seeking punitive damages in its case against Bessemer, intends to pursue all legal avenues at its disposal to obtain justice and to protect entrepreneurs, investment funds and others from suffering similar wrongdoings.

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