RADNOR, Pa., Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The law firm of Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP announces that it has filed a securities fraud class action against Exxon Mobil Corporation ("Exxon") on behalf of investors who purchased or acquired Exxon (NYSE: XOM) securities between February 28, 2018, and January 14, 2021, inclusive (the "Class Period"). This action, captioned Bentler v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., Case No. 3:21-cv-00335 (the "Bentler Action"), was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Dallas Division) (the "District").
There is a related class action case pending against Exxon in the District captioned Yoshikawa v. Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al., Case No. 3:21-cv-194. That action issued a notice of its filing pursuant to the federal securities laws on January 28, 2021, which triggered the deadline of March 29, 2021, for any investors who purchased Exxon securities to seek to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class. The filing of the Bentler Action does not change the March 29, 2021 lead plaintiff deadline. For additional information or to learn how to participate in this action please contact Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP: James Maro, Esq. (484) 270-1453 or Adrienne Bell, Esq. (484) 270-1435; toll free at (844) 887-9500; via e-mail at [email protected]; or click https://www.ktmc.com/exxon-mobil-corporation-securities-class-action?utm_source=PR&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=exxon.
Exxon, headquartered in Irving, Texas, is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies. Exxon operates through three business segments: Upstream, through which Exxon explores for and produces crude oil and natural gas; Downstream, through which Exxon manufactures and sells petroleum products; and Chemical, through which Exxon manufactures and sells petrochemicals.
Prior to the beginning of the Class Period, in 2017, Exxon doubled its Permian Basin oil resources through the acquisition of companies that held approximately 250,000 acres of leasehold in the region—primarily in the Delaware Basin, a subregion of the Permian Basin reserve—with an estimated 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (the "2017 Acquisition"). In announcing the 2017 Acquisition, Exxon stated that the "investment gives [Exxon] an exceptional Delaware Basin position in a proven multi-stacked play that can generate attractive returns in a low-price environment."
The Class Period commences on February 28, 2018, when Exxon filed its annual report for the year ended December 31, 2017, with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on a Form 10-K. In its annual report, Exxon reported that it had approximately $348.7 billion in total assets as of December 31, 2017. The annual report also reported asset impairments of $521 million in Exxon's U.S. Upstream segment, and represented that Exxon "has a robust process to monitor for indicators of potential impairment across its asset groups throughout the year."
Thereafter and throughout the Class Period, defendants made repeated positive representations about the quality and potential of Exxon's Permian Basin assets, assuring investors that Exxon was equipped to maximize the value of its holdings in the Permian Basin and to dramatically and quickly increase production there.
Investors began to learn the truth about the value of Exxon's Permian Basin assets on September 13, 2020, when The Wall Street Journal reported, among other things, that "[e]ven before the pandemic, some of Exxon's growth plans in Texas were viewed as unrealistic by some workers, according to current and former employees." Specifically, while "some Exxon managers in 2018 had initially pegged the net present value of [its Delaware Basin] holdings at about $60 billion," The Wall Street Journal reported that "[s]ome involved in the project estimated last summer that the area's net present value was closer to $40 billion because they believed Exxon was overestimating how quickly it could drill." Following this news, the price of Exxon's common stock declined $0.24 per share, or approximately 1%, from a close of $36.90 per share on September 11, 2020, to close at $36.66 per share on September 14, 2020.
Then, on January 15, 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that the SEC had launched an investigation of Exxon after an employee filed a whistleblower complaint in the fall of 2020 alleging that Exxon had overvalued its Permian Basin assets. Following this news, the price of Exxon's common stock declined $2.42 per share, or nearly 5%, from a close of $50.31 per share on January 14, 2021, to close at $47.89 per share on January 15, 2021.
The Bentler Action alleges that, throughout the Class Period, the defendants misrepresented and/or failed to disclose that: (1) Exxon had overstated the value of its assets in the Permian Basin by at least $10 billion to $20 billion; (2) Exxon's aggressive production goals in the Permian Basin were unrealistic and overly optimistic; (3) Exxon therefore faced an increased risk of heightened regulatory scrutiny; (4) Exxon lacked effective internal control over financial reporting; and (5) as a result of the foregoing, the defendants' statements about Exxon's Permian Basin assets lacked a reasonable basis.
Exxon investors may, no later than March 29, 2021, seek to be appointed as a lead plaintiff representative of the class through Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP or other counsel, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. A lead plaintiff is a representative party who acts on behalf of all class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed as a lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class in the action. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision of whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff.
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP prosecutes class actions in state and federal courts throughout the country. Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP is a driving force behind corporate governance reform, and has recovered billions of dollars on behalf of institutional and individual investors from the United States and around the world. The firm represents investors, consumers, and whistleblowers (private citizens who report fraudulent practices against the government and share in the recovery of government dollars). For more information about Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP please visit www.ktmc.com.
Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP
James Maro, Jr., Esq.
Adrienne Bell, Esq.
280 King of Prussia Road
Radnor, PA 19087
(844) 887-9500 (toll free)
SOURCE Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP