Apple Stock Shrugs Off Jobs Talk

Shares remain near their highs after a CEO subpoena report.
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Apple (AAPL) - Get Report shares recovered from a slight early decline on reports that CEO Steve Jobs received a subpoena to testify against the company's former attorney.

Citing people close to the matter,

Bloomberg

reported that Jobs has been asked by the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to give a deposition in a stock options backdating lawsuit against Nancy Heinen, Apple's former general counsel.

Rumors of the subpoena started circulating Wednesday afternoon and quickly knocked the stock down $1.73, or 1.2%, as worries over the options backdating scandal revived. But Apple fans and some legal experts say the move did not implicate Jobs in any way. Apple shares were up 8 cents at midafternoon to $140.85.

(See a video on the subject

here.)

In April, the SEC charged Heinen and former Apple CFO Fred Anderson with options backdating and hiding compensation expenses. Anderson settled without admitting any wrongdoing and forfeited $3 million in stock sale gains. Heinen is fighting the case.

In these types of lawsuits, says one securities lawyer, the SEC routinely seeks information from key people who were present at the time of the alleged misdeeds. Other big companies hit by backdating claims include

Brocade

(BRCD)

and

UnitedHealth

(UNH) - Get Report

.

In April, after an internal investigation, Apple's directors concluded that they had "complete confidence" in Steve Jobs. And the fact that the SEC went after two underlings seems to suggest that Jobs was cleared of any role in the backdating.

But the looming concern, brought back into focus with the subpoena news Thursday, is that Heinen will seek a deal and offer to cooperate with regulators on a case against Jobs. There's no indication that's happening right now, but another securities lawyer who is not involved with the case says that often, "the little fish gets a break to catch the big fish."