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Juniper Networks on Thursday said it expected to receive a notice of de-listing from the Nasdaq after an investigation into suspected options backdating forced the company to delay filing its financial results with US regulators.

The news came as the networking equipment maker said it would restate its financial results following an internal probe into past options grants. The company said it had not determined the amount of its restatement.

Juniper, whose $7.4bn market capitalisation makes it among the largest companies to be caught up in the widening scandal over alleged improper backdating of stock options, said it would appeal any attempt to de-list its shares.

“We anticipate we will have four to six months to file reports to avoid de-listing,” a spokeswoman said.

Options granting practices at more than 80 companies have come under scrutiny by US authorities. Juniper was among the first companies to disclose that it was the subject of a formal Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into stock options grants.

Some industry watchers say executives at hundreds of companies may eventually be implicated in an apparently widespread practice of inflating the value of a company’s stock options by changing their grant dates to coincide with low points in the value of their companies’ shares.

Former executives at two technology companies – Brocade Communications Systems and Comverse Technology – have been charged with securities fraud for their roles in alleged improper backdating schemes.

Shares in Juniper fell 3.8 per cent to $12.90 in after-hours trading.

Apple Computer this week warned that it was likely to restate several years of financial results following an internal investigation into stock options grants.

Mercury Interactive, the business software company, became a takeover target after options issues forced its shares off the Nasdaq.

The company last month agreed to a $4.5bn takeover by Hewlett-Packard, the world’s second-biggest IT group.

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