SEC Studying Siebel Options Grants - TheStreet

Siebel Systems

(SEBL)

, which has run afoul of the

Securities and Exchange Commission

over fair disclosure concerns in the past, is being investigated in conjunction with a federal probe into stock options grants.

The business software vendor disclosed the matter in a regulatory filing Friday, saying that other companies also are being investigated. "The SEC has advised us that this is a confidential fact finding inquiry and has confirmed that the issuance of the order does not indicate that it has concluded that we have violated any securities laws. We intend to cooperate with the SEC as this investigation continues to develop," the company said.

The filing gave no other details of the probe. Siebel was mentioned in a March 2004 article by in

The Wall Street Journal

that said the SEC was looking into whether some companies were granting stock options to executives just before releasing market-moving information that boosted the stock price.

The filing also gave investors the company's first guidance for fiscal 2005. "We are cautiously optimistic that our operating results may continue to improve in 2005, primarily in the second half of 2005," it said. Revenue will increase by 7% to 8% over 2004, with an operating margin ranging from 12.5% and 13.5%. The revenue forecast was roughly in line with the estimates of analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Operating revenue will rise this year, the company says, although it will be partially offset by continuing cost-control efforts.

In recent trading, shares were off 19 cents, or 2.1%, to $8.84; volume was not heavy.