The U.S. securities regulator has turned a probe into stock options granting practices at CNET Networks into a formal investigation, the company said. CNET Networks, publisher of News.com, learned in May that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had issued a formal order of investigation and served subpoenas on certain of its former officers in connection with the inquiry, it said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.
CNET received notice in May last year that the SEC was conducting an informal inquiry into its stock option grants. In June 2006, it also received a grand-jury document subpoena from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California requesting records related to the granting of stock options. The company said it is cooperating with both the U.S. Attorney and the SEC. More than 180 companies have been investigated by U.S. authorities or have conducted their own internal inquiries into possible manipulation of stock option grant dates.