Bristol-Myers Settles With SEC

A federal judge has signed off on a $150 million payment that Bristol-Myers Squibb ( BMY) agreed to make as part of a settlement of charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It's the latest development in an Aug. 4 settlement between Bristol-Myers Squibb and the SEC concerning government investigations of accounting practices and inventory management activity that began two years ago.

The New York-based company agreed to settle a pending civil case by paying a total of $150 million, including the $100 million fine, into a shareholder compensation fund under court direction. The agreement with the SEC followed, by a few days, the company's agreement to pay $300 million to settle a shareholder class-action suit covering similar allegations.

The accounting issue involved a restatement Bristol-Myers announced more than a year ago. The company had overstated revenue between 1999 and 2001 by $2.5 billion in offering wholesalers incentives to build up their inventories -- a maneuver known as channel stuffing.

Bristol-Myers neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing in connection with the investigation, which began in April 2002. The company said it cooperated fully with the SEC and has implemented a series of internal controls and procedures designed to ensure that its financial reporting processes meet the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.

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