Business Objects Slides on SEC Inquiry

Following last week's EPS miss, the software maker said the regulator is looking at 'practices with respect to backlog.'
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Shares of

Business Objects

(BOBJ)

fell Wednesday after the business intelligence software maker said it is facing an "informal inquiry" by the

Securities and Exchange Commission

.

After trading as low as $21.62 earlier, Business Objects shares were recently down 47 cents, or 2.1%, at $22.05.

Business Objects disclosed the inquiry in a quarterly filing Wednesday with the SEC. In the filing, the French-owned software company said it believes the inquiry "relates to our practices with respect to backlog."

Software companies typically do not disclose backlog, which refers to a contract the customer has committed to, but has not yet been recognized on the income statement or balance sheet.

"While we believe our practices are proper and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S., we can give no assurance as to the outcome of this inquiry," the company said. Business Objects said it is fully cooperating with the agency.

The disclosure comes just days after Business Objects

missed analysts' first-quarter earnings estimates by a nickel and gave weak guidance for the June quarter. Why the company didn't disclose the SEC inquiry Friday when it released its first-quarter results, isn't clear.