updated 06:50 pm EDT, Fri March 16, 2007
Disney finds backdating
Walt Disney on Friday announced that it found instances of stock-options backdating at Pixar before the animation studio was acquired, but concluded that no one currently associated with the Company engaged in any intentional or deliberate acts of misconduct. The company's Audit Committee and Board said that Disney will address the additional income tax liability issues facing Pixar employees who hold such options, including participating in programs established by the IRS and the State of California to facilitate the payment of such taxes on behalf of employees. The statement, released on the same day that Apple offered to amend options for employees similarly affected, appears to clear Disney Board member and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was cleared of any wrongdoing in a similar investigation by Apple, but was implicated in negotiations for "well-timed" option grant to a high-ranking Pixar executive.
Last year, the Cupertino-based found that while Jobs knew of backdated options grants, he "was unaware of the accounting implications." The company's internal investigation cleared him of misconduct, but he still continues to the focus of investigations by the SEC and federal authorities, according to recent reports.