VeriSign plans to restate earnings

Expected restatement comes as a result of its internal investigation into stock options practices.

VeriSign announced Tuesday it expects to restate its historical earnings over a five-year period, as well as the first quarter of this year, as a result of its internal investigation into past stock options practices.

The Internet security company said it anticipates restating its historical earnings from 2001 to 2005, as well as the first quarter of 2006.

VeriSign said the non-cash charge is not expected to be more than $250 million for the 2001-2005 period, but noted that its investigation is still ongoing. The company hopes to wrap up its review by the end of December.

VeriSign, as with a number of companies in Silicon Valley , has become embroiled in a stock options debacle. The restatement is the result of having to account for additional non-cash, stock-based compensation expenses, relating to the granting of options at favorable periods when the stock was trading at levels lower than when the grants were initially awarded. (CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, is undergoing a similar review.)

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