The SEC is reviewing Apple’s (AAPL) disclosures about CEO Steve Jobs’ health, Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg: The Securities and Exchange Commission’s review doesn’t mean investigators have seen evidence of wrongdoing, the person said, declining to be identified because the inquiry isn’t public.
Bloomberg News reported last week that Jobs is considering a liver transplant as a result of complications after treatment for cancer, according to people who are monitoring his illness.
Last week, Jobs announced he’d be taking a five-month medical leave from day-to-day operations at Apple to treat “more complex” health issues. The week before, he’d said he was treating a “hormone imbalance” with a “relatively simple” remedy.
In the weeks before that, Apple hadn’t commented officially about Jobs’ health. But Apple sources led CNBC’s Jim Goldman to report that Jobs was “totally fine” as recently as December 30.
Apple investors and observers have been especially concerned with Jobs’ health since he delivered a keynote at an Apple conference last June looking suspiciously thin. Jobs was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004.
To bring any case, the SEC would probably have to show the company tried to benefit by withholding information about an unambiguous diagnosis, said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor and SEC lawyer who now teaches at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.
“It would be difficult, and certainly a new area of the law,” Henning said. “You would have to pin down exactly what they knew, and with a health issue — unlike a merger or a decline in revenue — it’s not subject to definitive answers.”