The widening options-timing scandal contributed mightily to a record-setting number of large U.S. corporations filing late financial reports for the second quarter, according to a study from market research firm Glass Lewis & Co.

The firm said that 138 companies with market capitalizations above $75 million reported in the second week of August that their quarterly reports would be late and that the most-often cited reason (by 48 companies) for delay was the need to review past option grants. By way of comparison, in 2005's second quarter, Glass Lewis said that there were 91 late filers.

"Companies filed more late filings for the second quarter of 2006 than for any other quarter since we began tracking them during the first quarter of 2004," said Glass Lewis, based on its review of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.The firm said it found 121 companies that had disclosed restatements, internal investigations or government investigations in connection with issues relating to the timing of past stock-option grants. The SEC has said that the agency has had about 80 investigations underway on the options issue.


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