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Google Inc. settles charges with SEC

Web search leader Google Inc. said it has settled without financial penalty U.S. regulators’ charges that it failed to register more than $80 million in employee stock options prior to its initial public offering, the company and government said Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

Web search leader Google Inc. said it has settled without financial penalty U.S. regulators’ charges that it failed to register more than $80 million in employee stock options prior to its initial public offering, the company and government said Thursday.

Google also said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission would not pursue further action regarding a Playboy interview with company founders, which was published just before the company’s $1.7 billion IPO in mid-August. The SEC was not immediately available for comment on that issue.

The SEC had charged Google with issuing more than $80 million in stock options to its employees and consultants from 2002 to 2004 without registering the offering and without providing financial information required to be disclosed under federal securities laws.

The SEC discovered the unregistered options grants prior to Google’s IPO.

The SEC said that Google and its General Counsel David Drummond agreed to cease and desist from further registration and financial disclosure violations.

“We are pleased there will be no further proceedings regarding the Playboy article, and we are satisfied with the settlement on the stock option issues,” Google spokesman Steve Langdon said in a statement.

Langdon added that Drummond has the full support of Google and its leadership and that he would remain at the company. Google Inc. and the Internet search engine company's General Counsel settled U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it failed to register over $80 million in employee stock options granted prior to its initial public offering last August, the SEC and Google said Thursday.

The SEC said that Google and its General Counsel David Drummond agreed to cease and desist from further registration and financial disclosure violations. Neither the company nor Drummond admitted nor denied the charges, as is customary in such settlements.