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Merger Suits Often Mean Cash for Lawyers, Zero for Investors

A shareholder lawyer told a Delaware judge at a midsummer court hearing two years ago that his team deserved $700,000 for work on a lawsuit in which his clients received nothing.

Shareholders of BJ Services Co., an oilfield services company now owned by Baker Hughes Inc., claimed its sale to the former parent would undervalue their holdings. The settlement of the case gave investors “crucial” data such as performance projections for five more years, Shane T. Rowley of Faruqi & Faruqi LLP told the judge, seeking to justify the legal fees.