Stephens: Alltel lawsuits are without merit

Chairman and CEO of investment firm Stephens Inc., Warren Stephens said sour grapes are to blame for the shareholder lawsuits filed against Alltel following the $24.8 billion buyout deal it announced last week. Stephens Inc. helped arrange the deal and Stephens himself is one of the largest shareholders in Alltel.

One of the lawsuits claims that shareholders will be shorted as a result of the deal, while another claims the company insiders will be given preferential treatment in an undervalued deal. The third suit claims the board made a poor decision about the future of the company.

"Surprise, surprise, the complaints came from the groups that weren't selected," Stephens said. "All you've done is trade one group of public shareholders for another group of public shareholders. They are shareholders. They are interested in maximizing the value for shareholders."

For more on the Alltel lawsuits:
- see this Forbes article