This small story seems to have gotten lost both in the more exciting news of the nation (Katrina, Roberts, etc.) and the more exciting news about Oracle's acquisition. On Monday, Larry Ellison agreed to settle a derivative suit brought by Oracle shareholders over a $900 million stock sale that Ellison executed in 2001 before poor earnings were released and Oracle shares plunged 52%. The case is interesting for two reasons. First, Ellison is agreeing to pay $100 million to charity, not to the corporation. The payments will be made in Oracle's name, and it is unclear who will take the deduction. Second, the facts of this suit were the subject of a suit brought and lost by shareholders in Delaware. The hard copy article in Monday's NYT speculated that the more pro-investor state insider trading laws in California could result in treble damages (gain of $400 million times three), so rolling the dice would have been imprudent even for an innocent man with the wherewithal to pay $100 million. SF Chronicle story here.
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