In researching this post, I came across a number of recent reports on Henry Nicholas III, the once high-flying CEO and cofounder of Broadcom. While the story was enthralling, I didn't understand what any of it had to do with a federal investigation into stock option backdating.The allegations of illicit sex, drugs, and rock and roll reminded me of the 60s ... Sure, Broadcom had to take a .2 billion charge to fix the accounting mess left by the company's former executives.
That means the company incurs an expense equal to the difference in the share price between the two dates.
I count no fewer than 38 top executives at 19 high-tech companies that have bit the dust over this stuff.
We're talking top executives at big-name companies like Apple, Altera, Broadcom, Brocade, Cirrus Logic, Comverse, KLA-Tencor, Maxim, Mc Afee, Rambus, Sanmina-SCI, Take Two, Trident, Verisign, and Vitesse. That's serious fallout considering that options backdating is legit as long as the company reports it and accounts for it accurately.
More than 200 companies have been investigated by U. authorities or have conducted their own internal inquiries into possible manipulation of option-grant dates.
Backdating is not in itself illegal as long as the practice is properly disclosed and fully accounted for in financial statements.