Apple Says Government Requests Documents on Stock Options Grants

Apple Inc. (AAPL) disclosed Friday that the U.S. government had informally requested more information and documents on its past stock-options practices, and said the issue was a distraction for management.

Apple said in a regulatory filing that it received the informal request after it gave the results of an internal review of its stock options grants to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California.

The company said in December it will take an $84 million charge for misdating more than 6,400 stock options.

"Resolution of these matters will be time-consuming, expensive, and will distract management from the conduct of the company's business," Apple said in an SEC filing.

Apple, maker of the market-leading iPod digital music player and Macintosh computers, is among the best known of more than 160 companies under scrutiny for their accounting of stock options granted to executives.

Investors have particularly focused on whether the scandal will hurt Chief Executive Steve Jobs, the driving force behind Apple's turnaround in recent years.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has said its internal review found two questionable options awarded to Jobs, but found no wrongdoing by current management, including Jobs.

According to media reports, Jobs was questioned by federal investigators in San Francisco earlier in January.

Apple shares initially fell 1 percent on Friday but then recovered to trade up 22 cents at $84.96 on Nasdaq. The stock had risen to a record $97.80 in January after Jobs unveiled the long-awaited iPhone, but have since retreated following Apple's lower-than-expected outlook for the current quarter.