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US: Apollo Group Receives Subpoena for Stock Options Records

Bloomberg News
June 20th, 2006

Apollo Group Inc., a for-profit education company whose schools include the University of Phoenix, said yesterday that it had received a subpoena from the United States attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, related to stock option grants.

Apollo Group, which is based in Phoenix, said it would cooperate with the request. Last week, the company said it had hired an independent firm to review its stock option grants from 2000 to 2004, after a report from Lehman Brothers questioned Apollo's practices.

Ayla Dickey, an Apollo spokeswoman, did not immediately return a telephone message to her office after business hours today.

Also yesterday, The Associated Press reported that the Delta Petroleum Corporation, a natural gas and oil producer based in Denver, said that it had received a subpoena from the same United States attorney's office, requesting records back to 1996 over its granting of stock options.

The company said it believed the request occurred because it was identified May 16 in a "third-party report" as being at risk for having backdated stock options for executives. On May 22, the company said its board had formed a special committee to review Delta's option-granting practices and related accounting.

Fifty companies now face investigations, and lawsuits have soared to at least 70 amid more allegations that top executives tried to backdate or time their stock option grants to inflate their value.

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