Updated from 8:40 a.m. EDT
were dropping early Friday, a day after the chipmaker failed to release its full quarterly results as scheduled.
The company said that a "significant number" of stock options granted from 1998 to 2001 were incorrectly dated and that it would have to restate its results and pay charges of more than $200 million.
Rambus shares were off 4.4% to $17.49 in early Friday trading.
Rambus did, however, announce that revenue for the third quarter of $45.9 million was up 28% from the same quarter last year. The rise was driven by new-product licensing and patent-licensing revenue, Rambus said. Consensus was for $48.9 million in sales.
Blame for the options misconduct appears to fall on the former CEO Geoff Tate. Tate, who ran the company from 1990 to 2005, was CEO and the only member of the stock option committee when the majority of the options backdating occurred. He resigned from the company's board of directors in August.
The fudged options fit into three categories, Rambus said. First, the audit committee that led the probe found that between 1998 and 2001 a "substantial" chunk of options has different actual dates and recorded dates.
In addition, from 1999 to 2003, some new hires had an employment start date preceding the date on which they actually began working for Rambus. Some employees, then, received options grants at a price lower than the stock price on the employee's actual start date.
During 2003 and 2004, there were three stock options grants where the price was set on the same date as a board of directors or compensation committee meeting date at which a pool of stock options was discussed.
However, the individual allocations of the stock-option pool had not been completed by the meeting date, so Rambus recorded an incorrect measurement date for those grants.
The company said that its financial statements from 2003 up until the first quarter of 2006 cannot be relied upon and will be restated.
The company said it has received a delisting notice from
and has requested an extension until Dec. 19 to submit the appropriate financials to the
Securities and Exchange Commission
. It has not yet received confirmation that its request has been granted.
CEO Harold Hughes, who was hired in January 2005, and CFO Satish Rishi, hired in April of this year, were not implicated in any misconduct.