NU Online News Service, April 2, 2004, 4:15 p.m. EST – A federal court has helped MONY Group Inc., New York, fight opponents of its efforts to be acquired by a unit of AXA S.A., Paris.[@@]

AXA Financial, a New York-based unit of AXA S.A., Paris, agreed in September 2003, to pay $1.5 billion, or $31 per share, for MONY.

The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled against efforts by money managers that oppose the deal to mail acquisition proxy material that includes reproductions of MONY’s proxy card to MONY stockholders without complying with federal proxy rule disclosure requirements.

“MONY will suffer irreparable harm if [the dissidents] are allowed to enclose duplicates of management’s proxy cards in their solicitations to MONY shareholders without complying with the disclosure requirements,” the court holds in its ruling.

“In advance of commencing our solicitation to MONY stockholders, MONY submitted its proxy materials to the [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] for a thorough review,” MONY says in a statement about the ruling.

The deal opponents ought to submit their proxy materials for SEC review, too, MONY says.

MONY contends that at least one major deal opponent could earn a big profit if the collapse of the AXA deal hurts the value of some of AXA’s bonds.