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SEC to probe Asyst for stock option practices

Posted: 15 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Mark LaPedus?

The so-called stock option scandal in the electronics sector continues to rear its ugly head.

On Tuesday (June 13), fab-automation equipment specialist Asyst Technologies Inc. said that it is delaying a filing while a special committee of independent directors conducts an inquiry into past stock option grants and practices.

Asyst announced that it will file Form 12b-25 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), because of an anticipated delay in filing of the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31.

The company said it also received a letter dated June 7, 2006, from the SEC requesting that Asyst voluntarily produce documents relating to stock options granted from January 1, 1997 to the present.

"The SEC's letter states that it should not be construed as an indication by the SEC or its staff that any violations of law have occurred nor should it be considered an adverse reflection upon any person, entity or security," according to Asyst. "The company is cooperating in the SEC's inquiry."

On June 9, the company's board of directors appointed a special committee of independent members to initiate an inquiry into stock option grants and practices during the period outlined in the SEC letter. The special committee has retained independent legal counsel to assist in the inquiry.

More companies are coming under investigation for their practices granting stock options. In the equipment sector, Brooks Automation Inc. and KLA-Tencor Corp. face a similar matter.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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