CONCORD, N.H. - Lawyers who won a class-action suit against Tyco International Ltd. and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP will earn almost half a billion dollars.

Their portion of the $3.2 billion settlement, the third-largest securities class-action recovery in history, includes $464 million in fees and $29 million for expenses.

In the order issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Barbadoro approved the three co-lead counsels' request for legal fees totaling 14.5 percent of the multibillion-dollar settlement, plus expenses, citing the length and complexity of the case.

"This was an enormously complex case, and counsel assumed substantial risk in pursuing it. The number of mergers and acquisitions that were scrutinized and the novelty and difficulty of the legal issues that were presented leave this case with few comparable precedents," Barbadoro wrote.

The three co-lead counsels are Jay Eisenhofer of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., in Wilmington, Del., Sanford Dumain of Milberg Weiss LLP, in New York, and Richard Schiffrin of Schiffrin, Barroway, Topaz & Kessler LLP, in Radnor, Pa.

Tyco contributed $2.975 billion to a cash fund to pay claims filed by shareholders against the company over actions by former Chief Executive L. Dennis Kozlowski and other top officers convicted of looting Tyco and inflating its value; accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers paid $225 million for fraud, bringing the total to $3.2 billion.

"In all, the proposed settlement is the third-largest securities class-action recovery in history, behind only Enron and Worldcom," Barbadoro wrote.

The settlement covers investors who acquired Tyco securities from Dec. 13, 1999, to June 7, 2002.

Tyco has its operating headquarters in West Windsor, N.J., and is nominally headquartered in Bermuda.

The lawsuits were filed in New Hampshire because Tyco formerly had its headquarters in Exeter. *