Bristol-Myers Settles Accounting Probe for $300M

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) agreed to pay a $300 million fine and the company's chairman will relinquish his title to end a probe by the U.S. Attorney's Office of New Jersey (search) into an accounting scandal several years ago.

Peter Dolan will remain the company's CEO but board member James D. Robinson III will become the company's chairman. Robinson was chairman of American Express Co (AXP). The company also agreed to have a federal judge act as an independent monitor of its accounting practices and financial controls.

The company also said that in connection with the settlement, it would record an additional reserve of $249 million in the second quarter.

With Wednesday's fine, Bristol-Myers has paid about $800 million to settle lawsuits and investigations tied to the incentives it paid wholesalers to stockpile inventory, inflating sales and earnings. In March 2003, Bristol-Myers restated $900 million in profits and $2.5 billion in revenues reported from 1999 through the first half of 2002.