The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) approved an agreement with Research In Motion (RIM) that requires top executives to pay millions as part of a stock-option backdating settlement.
Co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, along with other executives, agreed to pay about $62 million (U.S.), including about $7 million to the OSC as an administrative penalty. Most of the settlement money goes back into RIM.
As part of the settlement, Balsillie cannot sit on the board for at least 12 months, but he keeps his position as co-CEO.
The Ontario regulator said the executives were negligent but didn’t commit fraud, according to the Associated Press. The allegations date back 10 years around a stock option backdating practice that was common among tech companies.
RIM also announced that it has made an offer of settlement to the U.S. SEC to resolve the SEC’s separate investigation of RIM’s practices. The staff of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement has agreed to recommend that the commissioners approve proposed settlements, the company said.
RIM’s shares today were up more than 5 percent, trading at $59.95 at mid-day Eastern time.
Separately, a UBS Investment Research report concluded that RIM saw positive momentum in sales for December and January. A survey of about 50 stores suggests that return rates for the Storm at Verizon Wireless were initially higher but leveled off since the first software patch and Verizon increased product training and customer support, wrote analyst Maynard Um in a report. For those customers returning the Storm, the Curve was the most recommended alternative, especially for e-mail/SMS users.
UBS raised its estimates for RIM’s fourth-quarter pro forma earnings per share to 89 cents, up from 83 cents.