Doublespeak at Adobe…

September 28, 2012

It’s been over 3 weeks since we’ve last posted, but we don’t want you to think we’ve been snoozing. There’s lots of work to do on the back-end (as anyone who has ever seen their bank go through a merger can attest to). But we continue to read filings, we continue to provide content to footnotedPro and we continue to tweet @footnoted.

But when we dived into the 10-Q that Adobe (ADBE) filed yesterday, we couldn’t help but write about a certain funny footnote that described Adobe’s $2 billion stock buyback program, which was announced last April. At the very end of footnote 10, was this footnote:

Subsequent to August 31, 2012, as part of our $2.0 billion stock repurchase program, we entered into a structured stock repurchase agreement with a large financial institution whereupon we provided them with a prepayment of $100.0 million. This amount will be classified as treasury stock on our Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets. Upon completion of the $100.0 million stock repurchase agreement, $1.9 billion remains under our current authority. See Note 16 for further discussion of our stock repurchase program.

So we quickly flipped to footnote 16 (lest we lose our train of thought), and lo and behold, what did we find? Here’s footnote 16 in its entirety:

Subsequent to August 31, 2012, as part of our $2.0 billion stock repurchase program, we entered into a structured stock repurchase agreement with a large financial institution whereupon we provided them with a prepayment of $100.0 million. This amount will be classified as treasury stock on our Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets. Upon completion of the $100.0 million stock repurchase agreement, $1.9 billion remains under our current authority. See Note 10 for further discussion of our stock repurchase program.

So then we flipped back to the end of footnote 10, just to make sure we weren’t missing something — some additional pearl of wisdom, some nuance, perhaps even a comma in a different place. But alas, we were disappointed. The two footnotes were exactly the same, save for the very last sentence which referred readers back to the other footnote.

We’re not sure if this is doublespeak, or just bad disclosure. But it clearly doesn’t provide much information.

 

Image source: Chimp sticking out tongue via Shutterstock

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