Analyst group targets Amazon's Doerr

Summary:A group of securities analysts is increasing its pressure on Amazon.com to clarify its financial standing, this time targeting board member John Doerr.

A group of securities analysts is stepping up its pressure on Amazon.com to clarify its financial standing, this time targeting high-profile board member John Doerr.

Gary Lutin, adviser to a New York Society of Security Analysts forum that is examining how Amazon reports its financial information, sent a letter to Doerr on Friday asking him to take the lead in responding to questions raised by the committee. Last month, Lutin sent two letters to Amazon and its board asking the company to provide more details on its financial standing; to date, the company has not responded to the letters.

"Amazon's failure to provide requested information naturally raises many concerns, especially in the context of management's continuing public promotion of the kind of representations which are being challenged by investment professionals, the SEC and shareholder lawsuits," Lutin wrote in his letter to Doerr. "I hope you will accept the opportunity offered by the Forum to show that you and the other Amazon directors take a serious view of your duties to assure the reliability of information required by investors."

Doerr, a general partner with blue-chip venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has not yet responded to the letter or a phone call Lutin placed to him, Lutin said.

Doerr referred questions to Amazon.com. An Amazon representative, claiming to be unaware of the letter, declined to comment.

"Their refusal to respond to legitimate investor requests for information would be considered a statement in itself," Lutin said.

The letter comes as Amazon has been besieged with criticism. In February, former Lehman Brothers analyst Ravi Suria issued a report saying vendors may soon stop selling goods to Amazon because of its credit risk. Although Amazon dismissed the report as "silly," other analysts have raised similar concerns.

In the last month, several shareholder groups have filed class action lawsuits against Amazon, claiming that misleading statements from company officials about Amazon's financial standing inflated the company's stock price.

In his letters to Amazon officials, Lutin has asked them to provide information on:

• the alternatives the company is exploring should it face a cash crunch later this year;

• where it plans to get the cash needed to continue its operations;

• who at Amazon is responsible for reporting the company's financial status to investors;

• and the company's policy on responding to analyst criticism and specifically on how it would refute the charges in Suria's report.

Topics: Amazon

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