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May 1, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:35pm

INFORMIX GOES TO THE WIRE WITH ITS RED-SPATTERED NUMBERS

By CBR Staff Writer

In a highly unusual move for a major technology company, Informix Software Inc decided to stretch a point almost to where it snaps: having promised to release its first-quarter results by the end of the month, following its April 1 profits warning where it revealed it expected revenue shortfall of between $90m-$100m less than its first quarter 1996 mark of $204m, a fact which would lead to a substantial operating loss and net loss for the quarter, observers were naturally enough expecting the figures at the close of the New York markets yesterday, ie just after 4pm EST, April 30. Imagine our surprise to hear – and not from the company, which is in full reality-denial mode regarding returning press calls at the moment – that embattled Informix CEO Phil White had decided to interpret that as meaning ‘before the markets open at the start of May,’ ie, the conference call for financial analysts took place Thursday May 1 morning at 9.00am EST, squeaking in just before the 9.30am market opening. Wall St was looking for a net loss of at least $60m, or $0.38 a share, possibly much higher. Meanwhile, the so-say ‘Dirty Twelve’ scandal gathers pace – with allegations and litigations and all sorts of unpleasantness to do with the $22.2m twelve senior Informix executives, including White and his chief technology officer Michael Stonebraker, are said to have recouped by dumping their shares while still at premium prices over the period April 16, 1996 to March 31, 1997: now Informix is in the unenviable position of having five class action law suits pending against it related to this canker. The time frame indicates the period from when Informix’s stock price was just over $19, through its high of over $30 last September, when it is alleged that the executives sold a total of 960,000 shares for as much as $26-plus per share before the true facts about Informix’s troubled operations, diminished profitability, false financial statements and failed new product development efforts were revealed and [its] stock collapsed to just over $7, a low it is still at, in the words of the latest filing in the Northern District of California. In the teeth of such a storm, one has to wonder how long White can be expected to survive as head of the company. Expect full discussion and analysis of the results now they have finally appeared in tomorrow’s edition.

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