Latest Options Backdating Settlement First to Include Consultant

June 5, 2008 ( - Cablevision Systems Corp has agreed to a $34.4 million settlement of an investor lawsuit over its stock options award practices.

A group of 16 individual defendants – including Cablevision executives, directors, and a consultant – will contribute $24.4 million of the settlement, according to a statement from Grant & Eisenhofer, which represented co-lead plaintiff Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana. The firm noted this was the first case in which an outside compensation consultant was targeted for its role in enabling a company’s backdating of stock options.

Directors and officers’ insurance is expected to cover the remaining $10 million, the statement said.

Cablevision also agreed to adopt certain corporate governance reforms related to its pay practices.

“None of the parties who entered into the settlement agreement has acknowledged any liability or wrongdoing and each made their contribution solely to facilitate a settlement,” Cablevision senior vice president Charles Schueler told Reuters.