UTStarcom ( UTSI) came up short again Thursday. The company's shares plunged 23% in late trading after the telecom-gear maker's latest financial shortfall. Adding to the intrigue, the company said it got slapped with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. The Alameda, Calif., wireless shop says the SEC has started a formal inquiry into its financial disclosures. The company also said Softbank Broadband, a big customer and 12% UTStarcom stakeholder, has delayed a $40 million payment for Internet TV gear. UTStarcom says the shortfall will bring third-quarter revenue down to about $630 million from the $670 million the company had predicted. The company expects to book the delayed revenue sometime in the future. "While we are disappointed that revenues from this contract are being pushed out from the third quarter, this is primarily a timing issue," said CEO Hong Lu in a press release Thursday. "UTStarcom has been shipping mVision to Softbank BB since early 2005, and we are pleased with the performance of our product to date," the chief added. The company has spent recent months struggling with a major restructuring and problems with its accounting. The stock has lost nearly 80% of its value since the summer of 2004, when UTStarcom rolled out its plan to acquire the handset unit of Long Island wireless shop Audiovox ( VOXX). On Thursday, UTStarcom shares slid $1.75 to $5.90.
Even though AT&T tried a last-minute bribe of promising 5,000 new U.S. jobs to help gain support for the deal, the Justice Department filed a complaint to fight the combination of the nation's No. 2 and No. 4 wireless carriers.