* Court approves settlement over contentious buyout
* Deal extinguishes parallel case in California
* One of five biggest shareholder settlements in Delaware
WILMINGTON, Del., Dec 1 (Reuters) - 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 fee.
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 lawsuits.
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.