The Priceline Group is the subject of a lawsuit that claims the Norwalk-based company defrauded an investor in connection with its recent $550 million acquisition of Momondo Group.
According to a lawsuit filed in Connecticut Superior Court by the Chicago law firm DiCello Levitt & Casey, Priceline announced its acquisition of Momondo Group 12 hours after Highlander Worldwide Ltd. signed a settlement with Tersly Investments Ltd. that ended a long-running legal dispute. Tersly was one of the original owners of Cheapflights, which was rebranded as Momondo in 2012, and in 2002 the company sold its founder’s shares in Cheapflights to Highlander. The lawsuit stated the Tersly-Highlander settlement included a release of future investment claims by Tersly, but Tersly’s legal counsel insisted that the company would not have agreed to these terms if it was aware of the deal between Highlander and Priceline.
“Given the timing of Priceline’s announcement of the planned acquisition – the very morning after Tersly signed the settlement agreement – there should be no doubt that the transaction had been in the works for many months, if not longer,” said Adam Levitt, Tersly’s legal counsel and a partner of DiCello Levitt & Casey. “Priceline and Highlander concealed the information and coerced Tersly to sign away its rights under a false premise because they were strongly motivated to avoid their obligations to my client.”
The complaint, which is available upon request, claims compensatory damages, disgorgement of unjustly retained benefits, punitive damages, exemplary damages, attorneys’ fees, interest, and other costs. Priceline did not comment on the lawsuit.