Apple delays filing, joining Dell

Major computer makers miss SEC deadlines amid investigations into financial reporting.

NEW YORK ( -- Apple Computer said Friday it was delaying its annual report as it works through the results of an internal probe into the timing of past stock options.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple said it wasn't able to meet the Dec. 14 deadline for filing its annual report because of financial restatements it needs to make.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker expects to file the report for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30 by Jan. 15.

Apple concluded a company investigation into its stock-option grants in October and said it would need to restate some past results as a consequence. The probe found some accounting irregularities but no misconduct among management.

The investigation into the timing of stock-option grants has ensnared hundreds of firms as well as attracted the scrutiny of the SEC and Congress. Lawmakers recently asked HP CEO Mark Hurd to explain a recent options transaction.

Options give executives and employees the right to buy company stock at a certain price. If the shares rise after the options are granted, the gains can be huge.

Apple's announcement comes on the heels of Dell's announcement on Thursday that it was delaying its quarterly report for its fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 3. The troubled PC maker cited ongoing investigations into its accounting and financial reporting as the reason for the delaying.

The SEC and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York have both requested documents from Dell as part of a probe related to the company's reporting of its reserves and balance sheet.

Dell has said it may have to restate results as a result of the investigations. It said it would file its quarterly report "as soon as possible."

Shares of Apple (down $0.08 to $88.47, Charts), Dell (down $0.07 to $26.80, Charts) and HP (up $0.18 to $40.09, Charts) were all little changed in morning trading Friday.

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