Are Stock Option Probes Coming To An End? (BRKS, BRCM, MRVL)

May 19, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

It looks like the SEC is getting more focused in its options backdating probes, although it is going after some companies more than others.  Frankly, it’s about time to wrap this up as it has been going in for more than a year and as much of this goes back to the 1990’s.  This was so widespread in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and so much money was made off of these by thousands upon thousands of companies that the total fines paid are in effect small potatoes.

Here are some of the top option backdating stories stories:

  • Brooks Automation (NASDAQ: BRKS) settled its stock options probe covering the years 1996 to 2005.
  • We saw Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) see current and past executives charged just last week, although announcements had come that it had paid $12 million to make settlements in April.
  • Almost two weeks ago, we saw Marvell Tech (NASDAQ: MRVL) pay $10 million to settle their options charges.

More settlements from more companies appear to be coming soon, so stay tuned.

One might even be able to argue that if this hadn’t been so widespread and had so much funny money not been made that the housing crisis out in California might not have gotten so bad.  Sure that is a stretch, but you get the idea.

Jon C. Ogg
May 19, 2008