New allegations have surfaced that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was involved in backdating stock-option grants improperly while chairman of the animated movie studio Pixar.
Wall Street Journal
reported Friday that Jobs approved a March 2001 employment contract with “Toy Story” director John Lasseter that granted Lasseter Pixar stock options priced in December 2000, three months before the contract was signed and when the stock price was at its lowest level of the year.
Although the Journal reports it is not clear whether Jobs picked the December stock options pricing date, his signature, on behalf of Pixar, is on Lasseter’s contract.
Stock-options backdating is not illegal, per se, but there are U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations on how they must be accounted for and disclosed to shareholders.
Pixar has since been acquired by The Walt Disney, Jobs now sits on Disney’s board and is its largest individual shareholder. Disney said it is conducting its own investigation of Pixar stock-options practices.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco and the SEC have been investigating stock-options backdating actions at Apple and other companies.
Luke Macaulay , a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he could not confirm or deny the
report and that the investigation of Apple and other companies continues.
Calls to Apple and Disney were not immediately returned.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 4 p.m. PT on February 9, 2007, to include comments from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.