* Court approves settlement over contentious buyout
* Deal extinguishes parallel case in California
* One of five biggest shareholder settlements in Delaware
WILMINGTON, Del., Dec 1 A judge approved an
$89.4 million settlement for shareholders of Del Monte, who
claimed they were shortchanged in the food company's sale to
private equity investors led by KKR and Co .
Delaware Chancery Court judge Travis Laster on Thursday
overruled an objection by a Cleveland pipe fitters union
pension fund, which had sought to opt out of the settlement to
pursue a similar lawsuit in a California federal court.
That lawsuit is extinguished by Thursday's ruling.
KKR bought Del Monte earlier this year, but only after
Laster delayed a shareholder vote, accusing Del Monte's
adviser, Barclays Plc's Barclays Capital, of
manipulating the sales process to collect a large financing
Barclays and Del Monte will contribute to the settlement.
While the judge's ruling will end all private litigation
stemming from the deal, it does not affect a Department of
Justice antitrust investigation.
The settlement is one of the five biggest cash payments
awarded in such shareholder litigation by the Chancery Court,
which is one of the country's most active for shareholder
Laster also approved fees for shareholders' attorneys, led
by the Grant & Eisenhofer firm, of about $22 million.
The case is In Re Del Monte Foods Co Shareholders
Litigation, Delaware Chancery Court, No. 6027.