Episode Five: Do Ford Shareholders Want to Know About Executive Sales of Ford Stock And Details of Versata Case?

Episode Five: Do Ford Shareholders Want to Know About Executive Sales of Ford Stock And Details of Versata Case?

In latest Podcast, Washington D.C. attorney Lanny Davis educates public on details of Versata case against Ford

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Lanny J. Davis, attorney for Versata Inc, a Texas-based software company, released another in a series of podcasts concerning Ford Motor Corp.—this one educating investors and the general public on the details of the Versata case, specifically the selling of Ford shares by executives as reported by the SEC.

Davis cited the sales by three top Ford executives in the last two years of Ford shares, according to public SEC reports that can be found online:

–James D. Farley, who sold about $1 million of Ford stock while serving as a member of the Ford “EPIC” committee, which supervised the creation of substitute software that Ford does not dispute included a group of software engineers who had access to the trade secrets behind Versata’s software previously used by Ford;

–William Clay Ford, Jr., who sold $4.7 million of Ford stock just a few weeks ago – on March 2018;

–Former Ford CEO Mark Fields, who was fired in May 2017, who sold almost $10 million of Ford stock eleven months before he was fired.

Davis points out there is nothing wrong with Ford executives selling Ford shares while the Versata-Ford legal dispute continues, reminding podcast listeners that Ford executives also purchased Ford stock during the same time period. But Davis asks why Ford doesn’t share the specifics of the case with those who may have the most interest, past and future investors. Reference case: Eastern District of Michigan: 15-cv-10628-MFL-EAS Ford Motor Company v. Versata Software, Inc., et al.

About Versata Software, Inc.
With a global presence covering 45 countries, Versata Software, Inc. and its affiliates solve the most complex business problems for the world’s largest organizations. Versata’s family of companies includes a number of leading enterprise solution providers, including Versata, Inc., Instance, Inc., Artemis International Solutions Corporation, Genzyme Corporation, Clear Technology, Inc., Everest Software, Tenfold Corporation, Cora Software, Inc., Evolutionary Technologies, Inc., and Alter Point, Inc. Versata distinguishes itself in the software industry by focusing on customer priorities as driven by value delivered. Versata’s market-leading Customer Success Program ensures customer involvement in product decisions and business priorities and provides twice-yearly opportunities for customers to score Versata’s performance against commitments. Versata’s world-class engineering capability ensures substantive and valuable product releases, thereby ensuring customer success. Versata’s relentless focus on customer priorities, coupled with an unmatched global engineering capability, provides Versata customers continuous innovation and repeatable value propositions. For more information, visit www.versata.com.

Contact:
Eva Bandola
ebandola@tridentdmg.com
(202) 684-3044
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Transcript of Podcast #6: Episode 5: 

“To Catch a Thief: The Corrosion of Morality at Ford: Do Ford Shareholders Want to Know About Executive Sales of Ford Stock And Details of Versata Case?”

“Ford higher-ups sell Ford shares – but don’t share details about risks of Versata case.  Why?”

This is Lanny Davis. I am an attorney representing a software company named Versata.

Versata invented software technology that Ford Motor Corp executives have described as crucial to Ford’s automobile production systems. Rather than pay for this software, Versata alleges a small group of Ford managers violated confidentiality agreements, secretly stole trade secrets and created an illegal copycat version of the software.  Consequently, Versata filed a law suit against Ford.  If Versata wins its case it could obtain an injunction to stop Ford from using the copy-cat software.  This could bring Ford’s crucial production systems to a grinding halt and cause Ford’s share value to plunge.  Ford has never disclosed this risk to shareholders!

In today’s podcast, I am directing my comments to all Ford share-holders.

To you, I ask:

Do you want to know the details of the Versata case against Ford and the possible risks to the value of your shares of Ford stock if Versata wins and can obtain such an injunction and possibly grind serious segments of Ford’s production to a halt?
Many senior executives of Ford, who know all about the case and these risks, have been selling their Ford shares in the last couple of years, as the date for the Versata trial nears.  There is nothing wrong with Ford executives selling shares of Ford.  During the same time period, they also purchased shares of Ford.  Yet these same executives have chosen not to share with all shareholders these details of risks of Versata winning the case and obtaining an injunction that could adversely affect Ford’s share values.

Here are a few examples of Ford senior executives who have sold Ford shares in the last two years, as recently as a few weeks ago, while not sharing with you this detailed information about the Versata case:

  • James D. Farley Jr., a member of the Ford technology oversight EPIC Committee, sold about $1 million of Ford shares in the last two years.   The EPIC Committee presumably was aware that a group of Ford software engineers, with whom Versata had shared its trade secrets, developed a substitute version of the software behind closed doors and behind Versata’s back.
  • William Clay Ford Jr, who sold $4.7 million of Ford stock just a few weeks ago —on March 2, 2018; and
  •  Former Ford CEO Mark Fields, who was fired in May 2017, sold almost $10 million of Ford stock eleven months before his firing and while the Versata case continued.

I know many of you who are Ford shareholders listening to this podcast are loyal to Ford. I respect your loyalty.  But my question to you is:  Don’t you at least deserve equal treatment, equal information, equal respect — allowing you to make the same informed choices as the senior executives selling Ford shares – whether to buy, hold, or sell, considering all the facts and the possible risks?

Why do the higher-ups selling Ford stock know these details and get to evaluate these risks — and not you?

Even if Ford executives strongly believe, with the lawyers’ advice, that the Versata case doesn’t present a serious risk to Ford, and well they might, – even so, shouldn’t they at least inform you of what Versata claims, the evidence that causes Versata to believe they will prove their trade secrets were stolen and that they can obtain such an injunction – and, then, let you decide?

I respectfully suggest Ford shareholders deserve to know what the top executives and insiders at Ford know. And thus, all shareholders should be allowed, by being equally informed, to make their own decisions based on full transparency by Ford executives.

What do you think?