Altera backdating

The company has said that it has reached a preliminary conclusion that the actual measurement dates of certain grants between 19 differ from the recorded dates and that as a result the company may have to restate several years of financial results.Shares of Altera were off 9 cents at .83 in extended trading Thursday.

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Flu season is getting underway, and the backdating bug claimed the jobs of a couple more executives yesterday.

Altera Corporation (ALTR0 announced the departure of its long-time chief financial officer, and a restatement of its 2005 financials to incorporate the catch-up adjustment related to the findings of its special committee investigation of backdated options.

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.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged three senior executives at Comverse Technology ( CMVT) with securities fraud, representing the second company to face criminal charges as a result of backdating.

Altera has received a subpoena from the Justice Department and notice about an SEC inquiry relating to its stock-option grants.

You see, if you backdate stock options to a date when the price of the stock was lower, then the options are "in-the-money" when granted.

That means the company incurs an expense equal to the difference in the share price between the two dates.

They famously excommunicated an analyst from conference calls because he dared to question the company’s use of capital - stock buybacks - for offsetting the dilution from option programs.

There’s no small irony in the fact that the company is now going through the options restatement mill.

But the company has already won a conditional reprieve from Nasdaq, allowing it to remain listed so long as its first-quarter and second-quarter reports are filed in September.

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