View Full Version : Feds investigating Apple - Jobs stock options

Dr Mordrid
12th January 2007, 18:06

Report: Feds are investigating Apple options grant to Steve Jobs

By Troy Wolverton
Mercury News

Federal regulators are investigating a falsely dated stock option grant made to Steve Jobs in 2001, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing sources ``familiar with the matter.''

Securities and Exchange Commission investigators and federal prosecutors are looking to interview three former Apple officials about the grant, but at least two of them have not submitted to questioning yet and it's unclear whether the third will, the Journal reported.

Apple stock, which had hit a new high earlier this week after Jobs unveiled a new iPhone, fell as much as 3 percent Friday on the news. In recent trading, the company's shares were off $1.57, or 1.6 percent, to $94.23.

Jobs' grant is one of some 6,400 that were backdated between 1997 and 2002, Apple acknowledged in regulatory filings late last month.

Apple has said that it has turned over the results of its internal investigation into its backdating scandal over to regulatory authorities and has responded to ``inquiries'' from them. But to date, the company has not said whether federal regulators are actively investigating its past options grants.

Apple's board cleared Jobs of wrongdoing, saying it had ``complete confidence in Steve Jobs and the senior management team.''

If any of Apple's misdated grants were to draw the eye of federal investigators, it likely would be the one to Jobs. That grant, for 7.5 million options, was originally approved by Apple's board on August 29, 2001, according to a note in Apple's annual report filed in December. However, the board didn't approve the final terms of the grant until December 18, 2001, when Apple's stock was trading more than $3 a share higher than it was in August.

When the grant was approved in December, Apple officials misdated it, saying that it had been approved on October 19, 2001 at a special board meeting that never actually occurred, Apple said in its regulatory filing. The difference was significant. Instead of getting options with a strike price of $21.01 -- the price of the stock in December -- Jobs' options carried an exercise price of $18.30.