The annus horribilis of database supplier Informix continues, as the company's stock price slipped below $5 yesterday amid investor calls for a buyback of shares in a bid to stem the collapse.
The company's share price slumped below $5 by 4 pm Eastern Pacific Time yesterday, a stark contrast to the year high of just over $24 a share. Since that time, the company has admitted to the a massive degree of inaccurate financial reporting and confirmed last month that the firm's reported profits were out by $236 million, the share price.
But Tuesday's slump was too much for some investors who demanded action from chief executive Robert Finocchio, who was appointed in the summer to clean up the mess made by the company's former management team, many of whom now face class action lawsuits from angry shareholders and accusations of insider trading.
One shareholder on the Silicon Investor bulletin board sent Finocchio an open memo on behalf of Informix investors everywhere, urging him to set in motion a buy-back campaign in a bid to restore confidence in the stock. "By announcing and implementing a stock buyback program right about now, you might possibly put a floor on the stock price through tax selling season," he advised.
Another investor was concerned that things would only get worse if Finocchio did not make a countermove as soon as possible. "This is getting ridiculous with the stock tanking under $5," he stormed. "Mr Finocchio should take a look at his stock's price because some of the institutions may be forced to sell under $5, leading to $4 and $3."
But according to a third investor, Informix executives are wary of taking action to manipulate the stock price while the alleged malpractice of the previous management team has yet to be proven or dismissed in court. "[Earl Aken, investor relations at Informix] said that Finocchio has just returned from Europe and is aware of the stock situation," he said. "But the company cannot do anything more at this time otherwise they can get into trouble promoting the stock the way the old maangement did."
The only sign of action from Informix was the release of another confidence building customer win press release, this time with CKE Restaurants, owner of the Carl's Jr chain of fast food outlets in the US. CKE is to use Informix relational techology as the basis for a new generation of enterprise applications development running the software on Sun Microsystems 4000 multiprocessors.
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