updated 12:35 pm EST, Wed December 27, 2006
Analyst: Jobs not at risk
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is reportedly seeking outside legal counsel amidst stock options investigations, will not likely be implicated in the case, according to industry analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Citing today's earlier report that individuals within Apple falsified certain options documents, and that these falsifications will be made public in the 10-K report that the company is expected to file on Friday, Munster projects a very low liklihood that Jobs was involved in the falsification of options documents. The analyst does expect the investigation to continue to point to former Apple officers, however, and sees the pullback in Apple shares as a buying opportunity. Piper Jaffray maintains an 'outperform' rating on Apple's stock with a price target of $99. [corrected]
The analyst stated that: "if individuals at Apple did falsify certain options documents, that is clearly a negative for the company, but we believe there is less than a 5 percent chance that Steve Jobs would have been personally involved." "Regarding the supposed hiring of a separate legal counsel by Jobs, we do not see this as surprising," Munster said. "We would have expected that he have his own legal counsel for the duration of the options investigation."
The analyst expects Apple shares to rebound if the 10-K suggests that former officers were involved in falsifying certain options related documents, but does not suggest that CEO Steve Jobs was involved. Munster also covers the worst-case scenario of Jobs' implication, which would impact Apple shares to an even greater extent.