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Rambus also hit by stock option scandal

Posted: 02 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:stock option? Rambus? Mark LaPedus?

Rambus Inc. is the latest chipmaker to get hit by what some observers see as the growing stock option scandal in the semiconductor industry.

In a terse statement, memory specialist Rambus Tuesday (May 30) announced that the audit committee of the company's board "has commenced an internal investigation of the timing of past option grants and other potentially-related issues."

The audit committee, according to Rambus, expects to focus primarily on options issued in or before 2003 and will be assisted by outside legal and accounting experts.

Fallout over the way stock options were handed out to some electronics industry managers has reached new heights and rocked the industry.

The so-called stock option scandal is far from over and the fallout could eventually become even more damaging to the overall semiconductor industry than the recent DRAM price-fixing case. That scheme, which also rocked the sector, has been limited to the DRAM community, namely Elpida, Hynix, Infineon, Micron and Samsung.

In recent weeks, Altera, Brooks Automation, Power Integrations and Vitesse have separately announced a series of internal and external probes over alleged misuse of stock options.

Programmable logic supplier Altera Corp. Tuesday reaffirmed previously given second quarter guidance and said that it expects to report "several million dollars" of expense related to the company's previously announced review of historical stock options granting practices.

In addition, KLA-Tencor Corp. Tuesday said that it received notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of an informal inquiry relating to past stock option grants.

KLA-Tencor said it will cooperate fully with this investigation.

Chip equipment giant KLA-Tencor last week said that U.S. federal prosecutors are investigating the timing of stock option grants made by the company, according to online reports. KLA-Tencor has formed an independent board panel to probe options grants over the past 10 years.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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