Lawyers for Fitchburg biotechnology company Promega Corp. and its founder, Bill Linton, are firing back at shareholders who filed suit against them in 2016, saying the disgruntled shareholders hatched a plot to take over the company — starting in at least 2014 — and were prepared to “do whatever it takes” to win themselves a tidy sum for their stock.

Counterclaims filed in the case accuse plaintiffs Nathan Brand and Ted Kellner of conspiracy, fraud and racketeering for allegedly plotting to force Promega’s board to pay an “exorbitant” price for their shares, and if that didn’t work, they would get rid of Linton, buy the company and sell it within five years, reaping much more money than other shareholders would receive.

Paul Shain, a former director and former interim general manager of Promega’s North American operations, was the group’s prospective replacement CEO for Linton. Shain also is named as a conspirator.

Privately owned Promega sells 3,500 products used in research, drug discovery and DNA identification. It has 1,400 employees worldwide, including more than 800 in the Madison area, and had revenue of $370 million in the 2016 fiscal year. Read the full story here.