Nuix (ASX:NXL) share price slips 7% on looming legal action

Nuix shares have come under pressure again today amid further negative press. Here’s the lowdown.

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ASX share price slide represented by investor slipping on banana skin

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The Nuix Ltd (ASX: NXL) share price was struggling today with a looming legal case from the company’s ex-CEO making news.

Adding to the downside, there are now two class action law firms looking at the investigative analytics and intelligence software provider.

By the market’s close, the Nuix share price was trading 6.83% lower at $3.41.

Nuix’s $200 million dark cloud

Between missing prospectus forecasts and heavy media scrutiny, Nuix has had a challenging start to its listed life – to say the least.

Yesterday, Fairfax publications questioned Nuix’s past financial reporting. Specifically, this related to options reportedly purchased by Blackall, an entity said to be controlled by former Nuix board member Tony Castagna.

Due to a lack of paperwork, questions have arisen surrounding whether the purchase was all above board.

But today is a new day, and with it brings a new controversy reported by The Age. The latest story concerns former Nuix CEO Eddie Sheehy and his options in the company.

The options in question were a part of Sheehy’s remuneration package in 2008. A condition of exercise was for Nuix to sell or list in an initial public offering (IPO) for over $40 million.

The core issue revolves around a 50 for 1 share split in 2017, which Nuix’s lawyers say did not apply to Mr Sheehy’s options. Additionally, Nuix lawyers argue that the December IPO does not meet the sale criteria for which the options were exercisable.

After the Nuix share price surged upon listing, Mr Sheehy’s options were valued at $250 million.

Commenting on the matter, as reported by The Age, Mr Sheehy said, “Currently, and by all accounts, Nuix is going to owe me over $200 million in damages. So, the big question for all shareholders is, where is Nuix going to find the funds to pay me? And, if it can’t find the funds, what happens next?”

Further pressure on Nuix share price

Former employees are not the only ones looking for Nuix blood. Missing prospectus forecasts within the first year of listing, among other revelations, has left some shareholders jaded.

Reportedly, at least two class action specialist firms are evaluating the potential for shareholder lawsuits. Both Quinn Emanual and Phi Finney McDonald are investigating Nuix, focusing on misleading and deceptive conduct or breaches of continuous disclosure obligations.

The barrage of negativity was temporarily masked earlier in the week by an apology from current CEO Rod Vawdrey. It seems the respite was short-lived, with the Nuix share price taking another hit from today’s developments.

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Mitchell Lawler has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. recommends Nuix Pty Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Nuix Pty Ltd. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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