Apple uncovers stock option irregularities

Apple has found problems with some of its stock option grants before 2001, one of which was to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs.

Apple Computer has found problems with some of its stock option grants made between 1997 and 2001, one of which was to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, the company disclosed on Thursday.

The irregularities were uncovered in an internal investigation, Apple said. The company has now hired outside attorneys to perform an investigation and has informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The option grant to Jobs subsequently was cancelled, and Jobs didn't financially benefit from it, according to Apple.

In the past few months, problems with stock options have been uncovered at numerous high-tech companies. Some grants of options were backdated, or timed to a low point in the company's stock, so the recipient could buy stock cheaply and reap a bigger windfall by selling it. In a May 16 report, the Center for Financial Research & Analysis named 17 companies as being at risk for having backdated options.

Other companies flagged by CFRA include RSA Security, Juniper Networks and Broadcom.

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service

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