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BAT bid for Imasco faces lawsuit

A CLASS ACTION lawsuit has been filed to block British American Tobacco's C$10.3bn (pounds 4.4bn) bid for the tobacco, financial services and drugstore conglomerate Imasco. In a claim filed in the Superior Court, Ontario, on Thursday against London-based BAT and Imasco of Montreal, plaintiff Daniel Stern seeks an injunction against proceeding with the offer, arguing that it is inadequate at C$40 a share.

The suit, filed on behalf of a class of plaintiffs, also claims damages of C$1.26bn. Don Lebans, a lawyer representing the plaintiff, said the award was based on the difference between BAT's offer and the amount that analysts suggest the company is worth. Imasco said it would vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit, which it described as having "no merit" and containing "manifest errors". The group said that its board was committed to "obtaining the best achievable price for the Imasco public shareholders".