Feeds

Apple, CA investigate share option grants

Back pedalling over backdating

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Apple and CA are both investigating mishandling of the choice stock options dished out to top executives.

Both companies said yesterday that potential irregularities which could have tainted the firms' accounts had been discovered by auditors.

A statement from Apple said: "One of the grants in question was to CEO Steve Jobs, but it was subsequently cancelled and resulted in no financial gain to the CEO." Jobs relinquished his fat option package in 2003 after Apple shares had tumbled on Wall Street. The firm did not reveal which other top brass got the suspicious options.

Jobs said: "Apple is a quality company, and we are proactively and transparently disclosing what we have discovered to the SEC."

It's thought the difficulties could relate to the practice of "backdating", whereby share options' initial value is chosen from a time when company stock was waning. Since options only become valuable as stock rises above the award price, backdating means the exec will make a bigger profit when he comes to sell. It's not illegal in itself, but authorities become interested if it causes employees compensation to be under reported, exaggerating profits and potentially lowering the tax bill.

CA meanwhile, facing yet another accounting mess to sort, has had to delay filing its 10-K form to the SEC, missing the June 29 deadline it had already extended from June 14.

A statement from the firm said: "The company believes that in fiscal years prior to 2002, the company did not communicate stock option grants to individual employees in a timely manner."

CA's statement points to backdating as the source of the trouble. It continues: "These delays could result in the need to recognize additional non-cash stock compensation expense over the vesting periods related to such grants."

CA CEO John Swainson said: "We are disappointed that we cannot file our 10-K to meet the extended deadline and that we continue to find problems associated with CA's past. However, delaying the filing is our only option until we understand the full impact of the legacy stock option issue and any potential financial adjustments."

CA shares have nosedived 28 per cent since January 24 when it reported $16m in Q3 losses. The preliminary 8-K form the firm filed yesterday revealed a Q4 loss of $36m.

Two lesser Silicon Valley players, Quicken developer Intuit and data centre provider Equinix, also said this week that they'd been subpoenaed by the SEC over their option dealings. Read their statements here and here.

The regulator is carrying out a big investigation into stock options, and has so far issued subpoenas to 57 companies according to AP. Nearly half are reportedly located in the Silicon Valley area.®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.