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Hansen says SEC drops stock probe

August 08, 2007|From a Times Staff Writer

Corona-based Hansen Natural Corp. said Tuesday that the Securities and Exchange Commission had ended its informal probe of the firm's stock option practices, without taking action.

Over the last year, the SEC has launched formal or informal investigations of option backdating at about 120 companies, according to a tally by Bloomberg News. In 15 of those cases the SEC has ended the inquiries without leveling fraud charges.

Hansen, which makes sodas and fruit drinks, said the SEC told it in a letter that the agency's staff "does not intend to recommend any enforcement action."

Hansen disclosed the SEC's inquiry in October. In March the company said an internal probe showed it had "incorrectly" accounted for some options, but that there was "no willful or intentional misconduct" in granting or dating options.

Other companies that have said the SEC has dropped option investigations include Intuit Inc., Dean Foods Co. and First American Corp.

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