Apple Computer shares up 4% in premarket trading

“Shares of Apple Computer gained ahead of Friday’s opening bell after the maker of iconic iPod digital music player provided some answers to lingering questions about the nature and extent of improprieties with its stock option granting practices, saying a probe has concluded CEO Steve Jobs was ‘aware or recommended’ some favorable grant dates but didn’t personally benefit from it,” Steve Goldstein reports for MarketWatch.

MacDailyNews Note: AAPL is currently up roughly 4% to $84.02 in recent pre-market action.

Goldstein reports, “The company also outlined the financial impact of the options probe, saying certain results would be restated to record an after-tax charge of $84 million for additional non-cash compensation expense. It quantified the impact of the charge on its bottom line, saying after-tax profits would be lowered by $10 million for fiscal 2004, $7 million for fiscal 2005 and $4 million for fiscal 2006.”

Goldstein reports, “In filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said a special committee of its board found that while Jobs was ‘aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates, he did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications.'”

“There was no evidence of misconduct by current management, the committee said, but it again noted, as it did in October, that the probe raised serious concerns about the actions of two former officers in connection with the accounting, recording and reporting of stock-option grants,” Goldstein reports. “The committee said the board has ‘complete confidence’ in Jobs and the rest of Apple’s senior management team. Of 42,077 stock-option grants made on 259 dates between October 1996 and January 2003, 6,428 grants on 42 dates have been deemed as not the proper measurement dates, Apple said.”

“Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, developing early personal computers including the Macintosh. In 1985, Jobs left the company, going on to lead computer animation pioneer Pixar and NeXT Computer, whose purchase by Apple in 1996 brought him back into the company’s fold. He has held the CEO post since Gil Amelio’s departure in 1997, and is largely credited with bringing the company and its stock back to prominence,” Goldstein reports. “Jobs collects a nominal salary of $1 per year, going back to at least 2000. That year, in January, the company announced it had given him a Gulfstream V airplane in recognition of his service to the company, as well as options to buy 10 million common shares at the ‘then-market price,’ Apple said in a press release at the time.”

Full article here.

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25 Comments

  1. “I am waiting for FRAUD’s post today after all the ‘knowledge’ he was spewing yesterday.”

    It essentially confirms all I said. It confirms that Steve knew about the grants. It confirms that he in fact selected favorable dates personally. It confirms that he was personally granted in the money options worth 20 million more than Apple said they were. It confirms that a false paper trail was put in place, specifically with respect to that grant. It confirms that there was wrongdoing by Apple employees.

    As I said yesterday, it now all turns on Steve’s knowledge and intent.

    Now all you have to decide is whether Steve did not know what he was doing was illegal, That he was not aware of any illegal acts of his subordinates, and that he knew nothing about the accounting implications of what he did.

    You’re welcome to believe he did not know any of those things. For me it’s a stretch.

    It sounds like they have Fred Anderson and/or Nancy Heinen for sure now. All that is needed now is for one of those two to sing like a canary.

  2. Uh, Fraud,

    Like you were telling anybody what they didn’t already know? We’ve been saying for months that I knew about it, but I did not understand the implications of it. Once I did, things changed.

    Have you no clue, bozo?

    S.

  3. No Fraud, it does not say what you say it says. It specifically states there is “no evidence of misconduct by current management.” How you warp that conclusion is beyond rationality. YOU believe what you want; I’ll stick with the facts.

  4. Fraud believes he can prove whatever he wants by twisting whatever facts are at hand to fit his own ideology. Sure, there’s no evidence of wrongdoing, but Jobs knew about it. It’s like a RICO case to him. Jobs either knew about it and did nothing about it, or he should have known about it and done something about it. He’s guilty, in Fraud’s eyes.

    Seems like Fraud is trying to emit his own Reality Distortion Field®.

  5. The fact that AAPL has jumped 5% today is entirely predictable and not that interesting.

    What is interesting is that AAPL has cleared its 50-day simple moving average (sma) at $84.98, and is testing its 50-day exponential moving average (ema) at $85.10.

    This price action has the short sellers on the run.

    Plus, today is the last trading day of the year, the end of the week, and the start of a long holiday weekend. So anybody who’s short will most likely be heading for the exits today – means lots of buying of AAPL to cover.

    In addition, we’ll likely see new money coming in the new year, possibly as early as Wednesday, January 3, 2007. (Note: The stock markets are closed on Monday for New Years Day, and again on Tuesday in honor of the death of former President Gerald R. Ford.)

    Then MacWorld Expo kicks in, with the Steve Jobs keynote on January 9th, followed by earnings report on January 17th.

    All of these are upside catalysts.

    The only major downside catalyst visible right now is the inevitable profit taking following the earnings report (buy the rumor, sell the fact).

    In summary: AAPL is heading up from here, probably back to the $93 highs. Where it goes from there will depend on the products announced at MacWorld and analyst upgrades/downgrades/reiterations.

    Happy holidays!

  6. Fraud (alias Backdate Bob) doesn’t understand a few things.

    Number one, backdating is NOT illegal. The transaction needs to be treated appropriately by the accountants, and the proper taxes should be paid, but the backdating itself is simply part of a compensation package. Companies can pay employees whatever they decide is reasonable or desireable. They could simply award shares outright if they wanted to.

    Secondly, the Register and Financial Times made it sound like Jobs’ 2001 options weren’t approved by the BOD until months after the fact, when in reality the grant was approved months ahead of time. It looks more like a clerical error than an attempt to falsify records when paperwork states that a board meeting occurred on the date the options were issued, but that’s beside the point. The options issued in October were approved the previous August. Now, why would someone purposely try to give that impression?

    Thirdly, the total amount of restatement is $84 Mil over almost 10 years.

    Fraud, get a clue. I have a fair amount of assets invested in AAPL, about 6 figures. I don’t need uninformed morons who swallow uncritically whatever the hedgies and agenda driven media are peddling, only to regurgitate it here and elsewhere, spreading FUD, and unreasonably damaging my trading accounts. Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

  7. “No Fraud, it does not say what you say it says. It specifically states there is “no evidence of misconduct by current management.””

    Lets take the points one by one with quotes from the report:

    Me: “It essentially confirms all I said. It confirms that Steve knew about the grants. It confirms that he in fact selected favorable dates personally.”

    Report: “the investigation found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates”

    Me: “It confirms that he was personally granted in the money options worth 20 million more than Apple said they were. It confirms that a false paper trail was put in place,”

    Report: “The grant dated October 19, 2001 was originally approved at a Board meeting on August 29, 2001, with an exercise price of $17.83.
    The terms of the grant, however, were not finalized until December 18, 2001. The grant was dated October 19, 2001, with an exercise
    price of $18.30. The approval for the grant was improperly recorded as occurring at a special Board meeting on October 19, 2001.
    Such a special Board meeting did not occur.”

    “The Company has recognized $20 million in stock-based compensation expense for this grant, reflecting the difference between the exercise price of $18.30 and the share price on December 18, 2001 of $21.01.”

    Me: “It confirms that there was wrongdoing by Apple employees.”

    Report: “There was no evidence, however, that any current member of management was aware of this irregularity.”

    no evidence and current are the important word here.

    Report: “The Special Committee also found that the investigation had raised serious concerns regarding the actions of two former officers in connection with the accounting, recording and reporting of stock option grants.”

    Under the bus go Fred Anderson and/or Nancy Heinen.

    “Based on a review of the totality of evidence and the applicable law, the Special Committee found no misconduct by current management.”

    Basically the report admits that Steve did things that if he had the right knowledge and intent would have been crimes, but if that knowledge intent can’t be shown, they are not. That’s what they men by “found no misconduct” when you look at the “applicable law” and no “evidence” has been found yet.

    So Apple’s own people state that they have no evidence of such misconduct. That’s comforting. What is Steve going to be saying after lawyering up? That he’s guilty? What are Anderson and Heinen going to be doing? Implicating Steve before they have a plea deal worked out? Not likely.

    Of course not he’s going to be saying that he didn’t know anything about the paperwork, the relevant law, or that what he was doing was wrong, because those things would provide him with a defense to prison time.

    So as I said, it all comes down to what you believe about Steve’s knowledge and intent as to whether he’s guilty.

    More cynically it comes down not to whether he is guilty or not, but whether that can be proven.

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