Veritas Software Corp. yesterday restated $20 million it had improperly booked as revenue in a software and advertising deal with America Online Inc., while also reporting questionable new transactions with two additional companies.
In a 139-page filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Veritas said it uncovered fresh deals with two unnamed firms that involved $977,000 in accounting problems during 2000. While declining to name the companies, Veritas restated revenue from those deals, which involved "software licenses and the purchase of on-line advertising services," according to the SEC filing.
The fresh disclosures by Veritas, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that provides security for online commerce, illustrate that the SEC's scrutiny of overly aggressive booking of revenue by Internet firms continues to spread beyond America Online to other companies.
Veritas previously flagged the $20 million in AOL-related accounting problems in January, citing a complex deal done during 2000. Yesterday, Veritas made the restatement of its revenue in 2000 and 2001 official through the SEC filing. The restatement reduces revenue for 2000 by $19.9 million and widens losses by $8.6 million. In 2001, the restatement reduces revenue by $400,000 and decreases losses by $9 million.
In some deals with Northern Virginia-based AOL, Veritas and other companies improperly inflated revenue by exchanging significant amounts of cash that were considerably above the actual value of products sold, sources familiar with the matter said. "The fair value of the goods and services purchased and sold in the AOL transactions could not be reasonably determined," Veritas told the SEC yesterday.
AOL, the nation's biggest provider of Internet access, is under investigation for its own financial reporting and for allegedly "aiding and abetting" other firms that sought to manipulate financial results.
Veritas initially disclosed last fall that it had received a subpoena from the SEC for documents and records in connection with the investigation of America Online and parent AOL Time Warner Inc. AOL, seeking to cooperate with federal authorities, has restated $190 million in revenue and turned over thousands of pages of records and documents.