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Options Morass Deepens at Sonsini Firm


— March 28, 2007

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has spent the past year trying to back away from the metastasizing stock option backdating mess, but an internal e-mail now in regulators’ hands is making it difficult.

In a 2004 message, Wilson Sonsini lawyer Roger Stern asks his partner to dig up a document from the time when a client was “using the time machine to pick low strike prices.”

That client, semiconductor maker KLA-Tencor, has since restated its earnings by $370 million to account for backdating its options during the tech boom, when Wilson Sonsini chief Larry Sonsini was the company’s corporate secretary.

The firm was forced to cough up the internal exchange by a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, said people who’ve seen the e-mail.

That subpoena was sent to the firm in January as part of the government’s probe of KLA’s options. And it kicks off what promises to be an unpleasant process for Silicon Valley’s top firm.

Details here from Justin Scheck at The Recorder via Law.com.


Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has spent the past year trying to back away from the metastasizing stock option backdating mess, but an internal e-mail now in regulators’ hands is making it difficult.

In a 2004 message, Wilson Sonsini lawyer Roger Stern asks his partner to dig up a document from the time when a client was “using the time machine to pick low strike prices.”

That client, semiconductor maker KLA-Tencor, has since restated its earnings by $370 million to account for backdating its options during the tech boom, when Wilson Sonsini chief Larry Sonsini was the company’s corporate secretary.

The firm was forced to cough up the internal exchange by a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission, said people who’ve seen the e-mail.

That subpoena was sent to the firm in January as part of the government’s probe of KLA’s options. And it kicks off what promises to be an unpleasant process for Silicon Valley’s top firm.

Details here from Justin Scheck at The Recorder via Law.com.

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