Pension Funds Get $117.5 Million in Options Backdating Claim

October 17, 2007

A group of pension funds reached a settlement in New York this week with Mercury Interactive Corp. for $117.5 million related to the backdating of stock options, the group’s law firm said.

The settlement is the largest in the history of backdating class-action lawsuits, said Christopher Keller, a partner at Labaton Sucharow LLP, which represented the funds. It was more than six times larger than the largest previous backdating settlement, which totaled $18 million.

Mercury Interactive, an information technology management software and services firm, was acquired by Hewlett-Packard Co. for $4.5 billion in 2006 after the stock options investigation began.

Hewlett-Packard declined to comment further than to acknowledge a settlement had been reached.

Shares of Hewlett-Packard fell 41 cents to $51.14 in morning trading.

Hundreds of companies have said they are looking into option backdating, or the practice of retroactively changing the grant date of stock options to take advantage of favorable moves in the company’s stock price.

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