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RIM Faces SEC Inquiry Over Options

Canadian regulators are also questioning the maker of the Blackberry. Also, KB Home is warned by debtholders of possible default due to delayed filings tied to options reviews.
Stephen Taub, CFO.com | US
October 30, 2006

In what is quickly becoming the most pervasive corporate scandal since the rash of accounting frauds that rang in the new millennium, Research In Motion became the latest company to face regulatory scrutiny over its prior options-granting practices.

The Canadian company, best known for its Blackberry personal organizer and communication device, said that the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an informal inquiry seeking documents and information related to the company's stock option grants and stock option practices. The company also said it has had communications with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) about its internal review.

RIM officials stressed that they intends to cooperate with the OSC and SEC, according to a statement. The company also said it will file its financial statements for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 "as soon as possible." However, officials assured investors that they do not currently anticipate a material adjustment to the preliminary second quarter operating results reported on September 28, or to current or future financial years' operating results.

In other options-related news, KB Home reported on Friday that it received a letter stating it is in default of a debt covenant related to its 7.25 percent senior notes due 2018, because it has not filed its quarterly report for the August 31 fiscal quarter. The letter was received from an entity claiming to manage funds that beneficially own more than 25 percent of the issue, according to the homebuilder.

Under the indenture, if KB Home fails to cure the default within the 60 days after notice is given, the default could become an "event of default" under the indenture agreement, allowing the Trustee or the holders of at least 25 percent of outstanding principal amount of the notes to accelerate the maturity of the security, the company acknowledged in an announcement. The company pointed out that it had previously announced that it is soliciting consents from the holders of each series of its senior notes, including the 7.25 percent senior notes, to approve a proposed amendment to the agreement to extend the time for the company to file its quarterly report for the August 31 quarter.

Last week, the KB Home asked holders of senior notes worth $1.65 billion to approve a proposed amendment to the indenture agreement allowing the company to file its quarterly report as much as 60 days after the current deadline. Under that deal, the homebuilder offered $7.50 in cash for each $1,000 of principal.

Earlier this month, KB Home received a letter of default related to its 6.24 percent senior notes due 2015. Furthermore, on October 10, the company warned that it would not file its quarterly results on time because it needed more time to complete the review of its historical stock option grants and related accounting. In late August, KB Home announced that a board sub-committee conducting an internal review of its stock option grants had reached a preliminary conclusion that the actual measurement dates for financial accounting purposes of certain stock option grants likely differ from the recorded grant dates.




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