Risk & Compliance

SEC Fines Marvell Over ‘Pull-In’ Scheme

Regulators said senior management orchestrated the scheme to meet revenue guidance.
Lauren MuskettSeptember 17, 2019

Marvell Technology Group agreed to pay $5.5 million to settle charges it orchestrated a ‘pull-in’ scheme to meet publicly-issued revenue guidance and misled investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement.

According to the regulators, Marvell accelerated sales to the current quarter that had been scheduled for future quarters in order to close the gap between actual and forecasted revenue.

The SEC said the misleading reports happened in the fourth quarter of 2015 and first quarter of 2016, and amounted to $24 million and $64 million of the total quarterly revenues, or 5% and 16% of revenue in its key storage segment, respectively.

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“Marvell’s failure to disclose its use of sales pull-ins to investors created a misleading and incomplete picture about the company’s financial results and ability to meet its revenue targets,” associate director Anita Bandy, of the SEC’s division of enforcement, said.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Marvell consented to the order and agreed to cease and desist from further violations.

According to the SEC’s order, by late 2014, Marvell senior management had grown frustrated with the company’s revenue performance after it had missed publicly-disclosed revenue guidance in the second and third quarters and was headed toward another potential miss in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015.

Senior management began imposing top-down revenue and sales targets, replacing the earlier system the company used where revenue and sales targets were based on forecasts provided by sales teams. Their projections were based on information from customers.

The SEC said senior Marvell management put significant pressure on sales employees to push customers to accept products earlier than scheduled.

Marvell’s stock was up more than 1% in afternoon trading.