Sun Open-Sources U.S. Antibribery Laws
A couple bombshells in Sun Microsystems’s latest 10-Q filing. Seems the company believes it may have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bans the bribery of foreign government officials. “During fiscal year 2009, we identified activities in a certain foreign country that may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). We initiated an independent investigation with the assistance of outside counsel and took remedial action,” the company explained in the filing. “We recently made a voluntary disclosure with respect to this and other matters to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the applicable governmental agencies in certain foreign countries regarding the results of our investigations to date. We are cooperating with the DOJ and SEC in connection with their review of these matters and the outcome of these, or any future matters, cannot be predicted.”
It’s not clear what activities are at issue here, but if they’re found to be in violation of the FCPA, Sun (JAVA) could be in a for a rough time of it. As the company itself notes, “The FCPA and related statutes and regulations provide for potential monetary penalties, criminal sanctions and in some cases debarment from doing business with the U.S. federal government in connection with FCPA violations, any of which could have a material effect on our business.”
Also disclosed in the filing: three class action suits seeking to block Oracle’s $7.4 billion acquisition of the company. “Three putative shareholder class action were filed by individual shareholders on April 20, 2009, April 30, 2009 and April 30, 2009, respectively, in Santa Clara County Superior Court naming Sun and certain of our officers and directors, as well as Oracle Corporation, as defendants,” Sun explains. “The complaints, which are similar, seek to enjoin the proposed acquisition of Sun by Oracle Corporation and allege claims for breach of fiduciary against the individual defendants and for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty against the corporate defendants. The complaints generally allege that the consideration offered in the proposed transaction is unfair and inadequate. Sun and the other defendants have not yet responded to the complaints.”
Wonder what Oracle (ORCL) will make of all this?