Oracle, Ellison Accused of Misleading Investors on Cloud Revenueby
Shareholder files securities lawsuit after shares fall
Case prompted by ex-employee alleging improper accounting
Oracle Corp. and its top executives were sued by an investor who blames his stock losses on allegations by a former finance executive that the cloud computing giant doctored its quarterly results.
Shares fell the most in almost three years Thursday to as low as $38.08, the day after the ex-employee filed her lawsuit alleging she was terminated after complaining to supervisors about accounting irregularities.
In a federal securities complaint in San Francisco, an investor said the stock decline was a response to the company’s misleading statements about its cloud-computing revenue. Shareholder Grover Klarfeld is seeking class-action status on behalf of other investors who bought stock during the 10-month period ending June 1.
Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison is quoted in Klarfeld’s complaint touting Oracle in March as the top company in the world by new cloud-computing revenue.
Svetlana Blackburn, the former senior finance manager who sued Wednesday, said in her complaint that the company pushed her to “fit square data into round holes” to inflate results.
Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said in a statement Wednesday that the company is confident that its “cloud accounting is proper and correct” and that Blackburn was terminated for poor performance.
Hellinger didn’t immediately respond to a phone call Thursday seeking comment on the securities complaint.
Oracle closed Thursday at $38.66, down 4 percent in New York trading.
The case is Klarfeld v. Oracle Corp., 3:16-cv-02966, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).