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|SkillSoft Settles 2002 Class Action Lawsuits|
NASHUA, N.H., March 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SkillSoft PLC (Nasdaq: SKIL), a leading provider of e-learning courseware and Referenceware(R) for business and IT professionals, announced today that it has agreed to settle the class action lawsuits filed against the Company and certain of its former and current officers and directors in late 2002 alleging violations of the federal securities laws in connection with the restatement of SmartForce PLC's historical financial statements. Under the terms of the settlement, SkillSoft will pay a total of $30.5 million to the class, with one-half payable shortly after preliminary approval (which may occur in the next 30 days) and the balance in approximately one year. The Company has been in and will continue to have discussions with its insurers and hopes they will contribute a portion of the settlement amount. The settlement is subject to court approval.
"The settlement of these cases brings closure to the last significant pending litigation matter against the company on terms that our board of directors believes are in the best interests of the company and our shareholders," commented Chuck Moran, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The company can now redirect the attention and financial resources required by defending such litigation on building on the operational success it experienced in fiscal 2004 and the execution of our fiscal 2005 business plan."
SkillSoft's previously announced financial outlook for fiscal 2005 (ending January 31, 2005) -- net income in the targeted range of $0.20 to $0.22 per basic and diluted share -- did not take into account the impact of the resolution of litigation matters. The Company will update its fiscal 2005 outlook when it releases the results for its fiscal first quarter ending April 30, 2004.
SkillSoft is a leading global provider of e-learning content and technology products for business and information technology (IT) professionals within the Global 2000. SkillSoft's multi-modal learning solutions support and enhance the speed and effectiveness of both formal and informal learning processes and integrate SkillSoft's in-depth courseware, learning management platform technology and support services.
Content offerings include SkillSoft's Business Skills Library and IT Skills and Certification Library; ITPro, BusinessPro, FinancePro, and OfficeEssentials Referenceware(R) collections by Books24x7; and health and safety compliance courseware by GoTrain.
For more information, visit www.skillsoft.com
This release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any such forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include the risk that the court will not approve the settlement; that the Company will not reach an agreement with its insurers; difficulties in integrating the organizations of SmartForce and SkillSoft, competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed under the heading "Future Operating Results" in SkillSoft's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended October 31, 2003, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements provided by the Company in this press release represent the Company's views as of the date of this release. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.