With a pile of evidence showing Dell used some pretty nakedly fraudulent accounting, the company and its founder turned to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to talk settlement with federal regulators, according to lawyers who worked on the matter. Those talks bore fruit today, to the degree that you can call more than $100 million in fines “fruit” for the computing giant, according to Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and this statement from the SEC.
The company, represented by David Zornow and Charles Walker of Skadden, did not admit or deny wrongdoing in the case. The case, as you probably know, centers around payments Intel made to Dell in order to ensure that Dell exclusively used Intel’s processors in Dell computers. The payments ballooned to as much as $720 million in a single quarter, and Dell needed them badly in order to meet earnings estimates from roughly 2001 through 2006, according to the SEC’s complaint, which you can read here. The SEC alleged that Dell misled the market by failing to disclose the importance of the Intel payments to its balance sheet. When Intel stopped the payments in 2007, Dell’s earnings suffered badly, but the company again failed to disclose the real reason behind its problems in public statements and regulatory filings, the SEC says.
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