ASK KIM


TransUnion Settlement Update

Kimberly Lankford

The court has to deal with appeals before millions can start receiving free credit monitoring. Plus: Who still is buying Lehman stock.



I read a Kiplinger.com article regarding the TransUnion class action settlement. I registered for the free credit-monitoring service and provided my e-mail address, but I have not heard back about the next steps. It has been more than a month since the September deadline.

On September 17, the court approved a settlement in which TransUnion agreed to offer free credit monitoring to more than 160 million people. However, the court now is dealing with appeals, which must be dismissed or decided before the settlement can be affirmed.

At that point, the settlement class administrator will contact participants with instructions about how they can start receiving the credit-monitoring benefits. You don't need to do anything before then. "No action prior to this notification is necessary or required by the consumers who registered," says TransUnion spokesman Steven Katz.

For more information about the settlement, see ListClassAction.com. The deadline to sign up for benefits was September 24, 2008.

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Who's buying Lehman stock?

I am a former Lehman Brothers employee, and I still own stock in the company. The stock continues to trade on the pink sheets. Who is buying it and why?

We can't exactly be sure who's buying, but we do know who's done quite a bit of selling. Not long after the investment bank filed for bankruptcy on September 15, chief executive Richard Fuld, other company officials and two directors sold millions of shares at prices ranging from 7 cents to 30 cents. The stock, which fetched as much as $68 in November 2007 and now trades under the symbol LEHMQ.PK, sold for 10 cents a share in mid October.

Why would these insiders sell for so little? Because they know it's virtually certain that Lehman's common stock will eventually be rendered worthless; that's usually what happens when a company files for Chapter 11 reorganization. From the perspective of the honchos, a few pennies on millions of shares is better than nothing at all.

Doing the buying are undoubtedly high-risk gamblers, as well as unsophisticated investors who figure they can make a killing if Lehman shares return to even a tenth of where they were during the glory days. And who knows? Speculators may make some money if they can sell to a greater fool.

Got a question? Ask Kim at askkim@kiplinger.com.




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