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Bristol-Myers said to settle for $300M
Reports say drugmaker to also make governance changes as it ends accounting manipulation case.
June 6, 2005: 5:31 AM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is expected to pay $300 million to settle a U.S. investigation of its alleged accounting manipulations, according to media reports Sunday.

The deferred prosecution agreement could be announced as early as Monday, according to stories in the online editions of The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The newspapers reported they based their stories on unnamed people close to or familiar with the situation.

According to The Journal, the deal is expected to include a deferred prosecution of Bristol-Myers (BMY) for about two years. Deferred prosecution allows a potential defendant to avert charges by agreeing to settlement terms and complying with them.

No current Bristol-Myers executives face charges, The Journal said.

Bristol-Myers is expected to incorporate several governance changes, including the separation of the titles of chairman and chief executive held by Peter R. Dolan, The Journal said.

The company also will continue to use retired federal judge Frederick B. Lacey as an independent monitor of its accounting practices, internal controls and financial reporting,

In March 2003, the company admitted its accounting for years had been " inappropriate," that sales had been inflated by $2.5 billion , and profit by $900 million , The Journal said.

Bristol-Myers already has paid more than $500 million to settle lawsuits and investigations stemming from the accounting matter and has agreed to some governance improvements.

In August, Bristol-Myers agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $150 million to settle a civil investigation. The company also has paid $300 million to settle a class-action suit brought by shareholders and said last week it would pay $89 million to settle four suits by shareholders who opted out of the class-action agreement, The Journal said. The company also is being investigated by the U.S. attorney in Newark, N.J., The Journal said.

Bristol-Myers shares closed down 28 cents at $25.22 Friday. Dow Jones Newswires 06-05-05 2212ET Copyright (C) 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  Top of page


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