Log in
Forgot password ?
Become a member for free
Sign up
Sign up
New member
Sign up for FREE
New customer
Discover our services
Dynamic quotes 
News: Latest News
Latest NewsCompaniesMarketsEconomy & ForexCommoditiesInterest RatesBusiness LeadersFinance Pro.CalendarSectors 
All NewsEconomyCurrencies & ForexEconomic EventsCryptocurrenciesCybersecurityPress Releases

SEC drops backdating probe against former Pixar CFO

08/21/2009 | 03:19pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators have dropped a stock options backdating investigation against former Pixar Animation Studios Chief Financial Officer Ann Mather, according to a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday.

By Gina Keating

"This investigation has been completed as to Ann Mather, against whom we do not intend to recommend any enforcement action by the Commission," said the letter from the Los Angeles office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The August 10 letter to Mather's attorney Timothy Coleman was obtained by Reuters from a person involved in the matter but not authorized to provide the correspondence.

Mather's spokesman, Paul Kranhold, confirmed that Mather had received the SEC letter but had no other comment. An SEC spokesman in Washington D.C. declined to comment.

The reprieve comes 16 months after Mather, a Google Inc <GOOG.O> board member, received a Wells notice from the SEC. A Wells notice indicates SEC staff intends to recommend that civil charges be brought, but gives the recipient a chance to mount a defense.

Mather's attorney had denied at the time that she engaged in any wrongdoing.

Options backdating, a practice in which option grant dates are changed retroactively to allow recipients to reap greater profit, is not illegal as long as it is properly disclosed and accounted for in financial statements.

Pixar was among more than 200 companies that disclosed internal audits or government probes surrounding options practices.

Mather was the only Pixar executive who became a government litigation target. A source familiar with the case said last year that Mather was expected to argue that Pixar's board, outside lawyers and auditors approved backdating long before she was hired.

"She responded to the Wells notice and there was, over the last year, quite a bit of communication with Commission staff about her defense," a second source familiar with the case said.

Pixar was bought in 2006 by the Walt Disney Co <DIS.N>, whose own audit found options backdating as early as 1997 but cleared then-Chief Executive Steve Jobs and anyone associated with the company of deliberate misconduct, a regulatory filing showed. Jobs became Disney's largest individual shareholder and a board member in the Pixar acquisition.

But Disney had to pay about $34 million to former Pixar employees with backdated options to cover price discrepancies and taxes. Backdating also was found at the company Jobs co-founded, Apple Inc <AAPL.O>.

In addition to her Google directorship, Mather also serves on the boards of Glu Mobile Inc <GLUU.O>, Central European Media Enterprises Group, Zappos.com, and Ariat International Inc.

(Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

ę Reuters 2009
Latest news "Economy & Forex"
08/06China's NDRC vice chair says economy growing steadily but recovery unbalanced
08/06Fiscal stimulus 'more appropriate' tool to blunt virus hit - RBA governor
08/06China pboc expected to set yuan mid-point at 6.4625 per dollar - reuters estimate
08/06FACTBOX-CBO estimate leaves U.S. budget shortfall for infrastructure bill backers
08/06UK starting salaries rise by record amount as jobs squeeze tightens - REC
08/06South Korea's Kakao Bank shares debut 38% above IPO price
08/06Japan's household spending unexpectedly falls as firms cut bonuses
08/06U.S. Senate works to finish $1 trillion infrastructure bill
08/06Apple to check iCloud photo uploads for child abuse images
08/06Japan's nikkei average futures up 0.47% in early trade
Latest news "Economy & Forex"