Mercury Interactive OKs $117M Backdating Suit Settlement

October 15, 2007 ( - Silicon Valley software firm Mercury Interactive has agreed to a $117.5 million settlement in a securities fraud case over stock option backdating filed by a pension fund and pursued as a class action.

Joel H. Bernstein of the law firm Labaton Sucharow, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a news release Monday that the settlement on behalf the Mercury Pension Fund Group with Mercury Interactive represents the largest such agreement in an options backdating matter.

The law firm announcement said the next largest backdating settlement of $18 million involved Los Altos, California-based computer chip designer Rambus.

“We are satisfied that the parties have come to such a fair settlement and are confident that the award will provide fair recompense to the investors who lost money as a result of Mercury’s improper practices,” said Bernstein in the announcement.

If the settlement is approved, it would resolve an August 2005 lawsuit filed against Mercury, which is now owned by Hewlett-Packard, originally filed by the   Archdiocese Of Milwaukee Supporting Fund.

In May, Mercury agreed to pay a $28 million civil penalty to settle regulatory accusations of stock options backdating.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had accused the company and four former top executives of scheming from 1997 to 2005 to award themselves undisclosed compensation by manipulating stock option grants and falsifying documents (See  Mercury Makes $35M Settlement Offer for Options Backdating Fraud ).

U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California must still approve the deal, according to the announcement.

The original lawsuit is here .