Human Capital & Careers

Options Spur American Tower to Restate

Backdating causes accounting adjustments at the $15-billion communications company.
Stephen TaubSeptember 19, 2006

American Tower confirmed what it had warned about nearly two months ago—it will restate prior results.

Officials at the $15-billion (market capitalization) operator of wireless communications sites, said on Tuesday that the company will revise its financial statements for 2005 and 2004, and selected financial data for the five years ended 2005 to record charges for stock-based compensation expense related to certain option grants and to account for the tax-related consequences. The company also expects to file an amended quarterly report for the quarter ended March 31, 2006 to reflect the restatement of its financials as of March 31, 2006 and for the three month periods ended March 31, 2006 and 2005.

The company expects to file the revised financial statements in the next three to five weeks, according to its announcement. American Tower added that a special committee investigating its options grants is continuing its review.

In late July, CFO.com reported that the company warned investors of a possible restatement after a preliminary internal review found that the actual measurement dates used for financial accounting purposes to record certain stock-option grants likely differed from the recorded grant dates of the awards. At the time, the company said that it may need to record additional non-cash charges for stock-based compensation expense relating to these option grants. Officials assured investors that although the impact to its financial results was not yet known, they did not expect the review to result in material changes to its historical revenues or non-option-related operating expenses.

In its recent announcement, the company still did not specify the amount of the revisions.