RealTime IT News

Apple Will Miss SEC Filing Deadline

UPDATED: Apple Computer  on Friday said it will request a hearing before the Nasdaq listing qualifications panel in response to a notification that it could be delisted from the Nasdaq board.

The company had announced earlier in the day that, due to its mishandling of past employee stock options, it will miss the deadline to file its latest quarterly results.

Public companies must file a quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission, called a 10-Q, within 90 days of the end of that quarter.

Failure to do so could result in delisting, which Apple now faces.

Apple  has been forced to delay the filing while it investigates stock option grants and looks to restate earnings.

Apple first disclosed its stock options problems in June. It said the problems span from 1997 to 2001.

The company has said it will file its 10-Q for the second quarter, which was a solid quarter, once its internal investigation is complete.

However, now federal regulators are moving to delist Apple's stock from the Nasdaq stock Market. That's already happened to Mercury Interactive earlier this year.

More than 80 other companies nationwide are dealing with similar issues, many of them in the technology sector.

These include CA , Juniper Networks , RSA Security  , Sycamore  and Monster.com .

So far, Apple hasn't explained the nature or the extent of its stock option issues.

The most common sin among firms has been what's known as "backdating," where insiders try pin their option's exercise price to a low point in the stock's value. This can adversely affect both profits and taxes owed.

However, there is some speculation that Apple's stock option problems may be due to "springloading," a tactic where grants are made just before a company announces good news that's expected to give the stock price a boost.

Whatever the problem, Apple as a company is still a solid play and any earnings restatement will only be a temporary issue, said Brian Sozzi, retail analyst for Wall Street Strategies.

"At the end of the day, it's more short-term in nature," Sozzi said.

"Longer term, the fundamentals of Apple are still intact. The iPod is still a popular product, they have strong computer sales and are opening new retail outlets. Outside of this event, Apple should be in good shape."

Analyst opinion seems to bear that out; Bank of America upgraded Apple one month after it notified the public of its stock issues.