A Delaware Chancery court on Thursday appointed Ballard Spahr LLP to lead an appraisal petition from a group of shareholders who are seeking a review of the price paid by BGC Partners Inc. in its contentious takeover of fellow broker-dealer GFI Group Inc.

Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster issued an order consolidating a pair of actions from shareholders looking for an appraisal of their GFI shares, following BGC's deal that closed in January and paid $6.10 per share in cash. The order appointed Ballard Spahr lead counsel, which had filed a petition on behalf of investors Hillary Shane, David Nguyen and others back in February. The other case was filed by Andersen Sleater LLC on behalf of Quaker Investment Trust in March, which consented to Ballard Spahr taking the lead on the consolidated case.

"Ballard is hereby appointed sole lead counsel in the consolidated action for the purpose of prosecuting the appraisal on behalf of all petitioners and other dissenters who have not filed petitions," the order said.

The action could give the shareholders a right to claim any difference between the merger price and the court-approved "fair value" of the shares. The petition also seeks interest, and costs and fees associated with the action.

An attorney for the investors, David J. Margules of Ballard Spahr, told Law360 on Thursday that he expects the case to be an interesting one. "This is a very interesting case that offers some unique issues that haven't been fully litigated in prior appraisal case, but that have been anticipated," Margules said.

The shareholders are represented by David J. Margules, Elizabeth A. Sloan, Erika Caesar and Jessica Watt of Ballard Spahr LLP.