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RealTime IT News

Courts Pick Apple in Stock Options Probe

The other shoe fell today for Apple in the growing stock options controversy.

Last week, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple  said that its own internal investigation uncovered irregularities in stock options granted to executives between 1997 to 2001.

Today, the company said it's been notified of derivative lawsuits filed against it in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and the Superior Court for Santa Clara County.

Apple said both suits make claims against current and former officers and directors with respect to the company's awarding of stock option grants.

In a statement released today, Apple said it is conducting an independent investigation into the matter. Apple also said it is evaluating its response to the lawsuits.

Last week, Apple posted a statement by CEO Steve Jobs, which said the company was "...focused on resolving these issues as quickly as possible."

Jobs added that Apple had "proactively and transparently" disclosed its findings to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At issue, in the case of Apple and numerous other tech companies, is the practice of backdated options, in which the stock-option grant is different from the date on which the option appears to have actually been granted, ensuring the exercise prices are lower than the market price.

Such methods run afoul of security laws.

Earlier today, Mercury Interactive and Quest Software acknowledged the problems past backdating is causing them.

Last month, RSA Security and Monster.com revealed they were targets of federal probes into stock options.



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