The SEC has reportedly opened an inquiry into Apple Inc.’s disclosures about CEO Steve Jobs’s health problems to examine whether investors were misled. Bloomberg reports that the nonpublic inquiry relates to Apple’s disclosures concerning Jobs, who earlier this month said he would remain CEO while seeking a “relatively simple” treatment for a nutritional ailment. Nine days later, however, Jobs said he would take a five-month medical leave after learning his health issues were “more complex.”
Apple’s stock has been volatile in the face of the different news about Jobs’ health. The stock rose 4.2 percent on Jan. 5 after Jobs said he had been diagnosed with a hormone imbalance that caused him to lose weight throughout 2008, the first public disclosure of Jobs’s health since August 2004. It has fallen 8.4 percent since the company disclosed January 14 that Jobs, 53, would be on medical leave through June (see chart below).
Professor Peter Henning told Bloomberg that to ultimately bring a case against Apple, “the SEC would probably have to show the company tried to benefit by withholding information about an unambiguous diagnosis.”