February 25, 2005

SCO Group buys some time on Nasdaq de-listing; no annual report filed yet

Author: Chris Preimesberger

UPDATE: The embattled SCO Group announced through a legal posting Friday that it has requested and has been granted an oral hearing on whether the company should be de-listed from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Because SCO Group has missed two deadlines and is a month late in filing its Form 10-K annual report to investors, the Nasdaq on Feb. 15 placed the company on a kind of probation by ordering it to file the report by today, Feb. 25. It also added the dreaded "E" designation to its SCOX ticker symbol, indicating that the company is in non-compliance with SEC reporting rules.

The Lindon, Utah-based Unix products and services company furnished no press release Friday but only posted its SEC Form 8K on the matter, which is considered sufficient public notification. The hearing will be held on March 17, effectively buying SCO Group about three weeks' time to continue selling stock on the exchange.

The Form 8K filed this morning reads, in part:

As previously announced by The SCO Group, Inc. (the "Company"), on February 16, 2005, the Company received a notice from the staff of The Nasdaq Stock Market indicating that the Company is subject to potential delisting from The Nasdaq SmallCap Market for failure to comply with Nasdaq's requirement to file its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2004 in a timely fashion. The Company also previously announced that it expected to make a request for a hearing with the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel on the matters.

On February 21, 2005, the Company submitted its request for a hearing with the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel. On February 22, 2005, the Company received a notice from the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel indicating that the Companyâs application for an oral hearing had been accepted. The hearing is scheduled to take place on March 17, 2005.

As of market closing Friday, SCO Group had not yet filed its Form 10K annual report with the SEC. The company, which has missed two deadlines to file the report since its Q4 ended on Oct. 31, 2004, had until the end of business today to do so.

The appeal acceptance effectively staves off Nasdaq from de-listing SCO from trading until at least March 17. SCOXE closed at $4.18 Friday, up seven cents from Thursday.

What this means to SCO Group and its investors

"If ultimately de-listed, then SCOXE stock as a currency is virtually worthless, as are the outstanding options, and this could also place more pressure on its law suits against IBM, Novell, et al. SCO Group needs this like a kick in the head," wrote IT Manager's Journal business analyst Melanie Hollands in a Feb. 19 article.

What the de-listing process entails

The entire de-listing process could take time â as long as six months -- as companies like SCO are given the opportunity to put things in order. It's fair to both the public companies, as well as to the shareholders, that the de-listing process is given time; in part, because companies value being listed and in part because it's an investor protection issue.

For more detail on the implications of all this on SCO's investors, partners, and customers, see Hollands' ITMJ analysis.

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