In a Monday court filing, Walnut Place withdrew its opposition to Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)’s $8.5 billion proposed settlement with Countrywide mortgage-backed securities investors.
Walnut Place is more fondly known as a name utilized by hedge fund manager, Seth Klarman’s, Boston-based Baupost Group.
The filing came in a New York-based courtroom, and the reason for the withdrawal wasn’t stated according to Bloomberg.
For Bank of America, this news comes a year after it reached a settlement in June 2011 to finish up the claims against Countrywide Financial mortgage bonds. A New York state judge is currently reviewing the agreement.
So how does Walnut Place fit into the story? It joins a number of investors in the case who sought additional information about the agreement. According to Bloomberg, in court papers, the firm expressed “serious concerns” about the settlement’s capacity, and its attempt to solve claims that were “worth many times that amount” of $8.5 billion.
Back in March, we wrote about Walnut Place’s involvement in the lawsuit. Court papers disclosed that the firm held $1.4 billion in mortgage-backed securities. The firm got involved in the lawsuit after The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s (NYSE:BK) had failed to sue the Bank of America, on claims that it was responsible for repurchasing the faulty loans.
The judge had referred to the case as “premature” after a few earlier days, when Bank of New York Mellon noted they needed additional time to review the claims.
This didn’t go over too well with the investors; they expressed anger that BNY Mellon had failed to protect bondholders, after following investors’ pleas for the $8.5 billion settlement with Bank of America and other institutional investors over the Countrywide mortgage backed bonds.
But perhaps what’s more interesting, was the fact that Baupost made up a fake name for the Bank of America case, as we know hedge funds have been known to do this in the past. While not sure how they selected the name, in December, we wrote that Theodore Mirvis, an attorney with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, who represented Bank of America, said during court proceedings that, “Walnut Place is actually a made up name.”
Mirvis had added that Baupost is “known as a distressed debt, or sometimes a vulture fund.”
At the time, Baupost spokeswoman, Elaine Mann, would not comment on whether or not the Boston-based hedge fund, was in fact Walnut. In addition, David Grais, an attorney at Grais & Ellsworth LLP in New York who represents the Walnut entities, also would not comment on the identity of Walnut either.
Walnut has also been involved in an additional case against the Bank of America.