Scorecard: 153 Firms Snared in Options Scandal

October 25, 2006 ( - An investment research firm keeping track of developments in the stock option backdating scandal said at least 153 companies have announced internal reviews or US government investigations of their option granting practices.

Glass Lewis & Co. said in its study that the scandal has resulted in the firing or dismissal of at least 45 executives and directors at 25 companies, according to a Reuters news report (See  The Bottom Line: The Backdating Debate ).

“We continue to see more companies that appear to have backdated, but have yet to disclose anything to investors, including any investigations by law enforcement agencies,” said Lynn Turner, Glass Lewis managing director of research and former Securities and Exchange Commission chief accountant, according to the news report.

Glass Lewis said the backdating scandal is still largely restricted to the high technology sector. Of 153 companies affected, 68 are semiconductor, software and programming, or communications equipment groups, while 15 retailers are also involved, the firm said, according to Reuters.

prosecutors have filed criminal fraud charges over the issue against former executives of Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (See  Brocade Execs Among First to be Charged in Stock Option Probe ) and Comverse Technology Inc. (See  Comverse Execs Face Fraud Charges for Options Backdating ).

Earlier this month, health insurance giant UnitedHealth Group Inc. said longtime Chief Executive William McGuire would quit amid an options practices inquiry (See  UnitedHealth Tightens Reins on Stock Option Grants ).