VMware will pay $8 million to settle allegations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) it misled investors by hiding its lagging financial performance.
The California-based provider of cloud services tried to keep its slowing performance under wraps during its 2019 and 2020 fiscal years by withholding the delivery of license keys customers had purchased until after quarter-end, the SEC claimed in an order filed Monday. This allowed the company to allegedly shift tens of millions in revenue to subsequent quarters in fiscal year 2020, when business had slowed.
The company’s aim was to make it appear it was meeting its financial projections, claimed the SEC, which deemed the omissions material.
VMware brushed over its order management in its filings to the SEC, the agency alleged, saying only its backlog of deliveries was “‘managed based upon multiple considerations,’” instead of fully disclosing its practices and performance.
The company violated the Securities Act of 1933 as well as reporting rules of federal securities laws, the SEC determined. In addition to paying the penalty, VMware agreed to a cease-and-desist order.
The company neither admitted nor denied the agency’s findings
“By making misleading statements about order management practices, VMware deprived investors of important information about its financial performance,” said Mark Cave, associate director in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, in a press release. “Such conduct is incompatible with an issuer’s disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws.”
In a statement, VMware noted the SEC did not determine the company failed to comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
“The SEC staff has confirmed that it does not intend to recommend enforcement action against any current or former VMware officers or other member of management in connection with the investigation, and this settlement concludes the matter,” the company stated. “VMware believes this settlement is the right course of action for the company and continues to be committed to operating at the highest level of integrity, including with respect to its public filings and communications with investors.”