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投资理财

迪士尼遭到指控,你了解多少?

Erik Sherman 2019年08月26日

一位分析师称,迪士尼员工多年来都在以虚假手段夸大营收。

迪士尼本来应该专注于营造梦幻王国,而不是捏造数据。

据美国财经媒体MarketWatch报道,迪士尼的一名前高级金融分析师向美国证券交易委员会提交了多份有关该公司会计操作的指控。

桑德拉·库巴声称,迪士尼员工多年来都在以虚假手段夸大营收。指控中所提到的一些方法包括,谎称公司全额支付了免费赠送的高尔夫游戏或其他免费或打折促销的服务和产品。迪士尼员工可能是通过软件漏洞输入了上述或其他虚假信息。

迪士尼在给《财富》杂志的一则声明中称,上述指控属于无理取闹。公司的发言人表示,库巴在2017年被“因故解聘”,并“在两年多时间里一直公然发表虚假指控”。这位发言人补充称,迪士尼已经对她的指控进行了 “彻底调查,结果发现毫无根据可言”,而MarketWatch“几个月前就已经获悉相关事实”。

以下是我们目前所知的情况。

举报人称其曾向管理层上报

营收和利润对上市公司来说可谓是生死攸关。监管机构要求上市公司必须提交完整而准确的财务报表,以便投资者能够了解公司的业绩。

库巴指称,迪士尼在其主题公园中操纵了许多小额交易,歪曲了其实际价值,这些交易的合计金额大幅推高了公司营收。

在2009财年,迪士尼主题公园和度假村业务部门的营收达到了107亿美元。库巴称,这个数字可能被夸大了60亿美元以上。

她称自己曾经多次向迪士尼管理层上报这些问题,并表示在2017年联系过美国证券交易委员会,结果一个月后就被解雇了。

投资者并不担心

迪士尼股价仅下跌了0.12%,这表明投资者并未感到恐慌。接受《财富》杂志采访的一些专家对这种大额指控表示怀疑。

“这是我首次听到这种报道。”股票分析公司Argus Research Company的技术、媒体和通信高级分析师约瑟夫·博纳说道。“不得不说,60亿美元听起来有些令人难以置信。”

乔治城大学麦克多诺商学院的金融学教授詹姆斯·安吉尔同样心存疑虑,他说:“迪士尼是金融工程大师,如果存在可用的漏洞,他们会利用吗?我觉得会。但要说他们会在财务方面造假吗?我会感到震惊。”

安吉尔认为,即便是确有其事,情形更有可能是中层管理人员试图以此来粉饰业绩,但此举不大可能逃过内部审计师的眼睛。

库巴称其曾与美国证券交易委员会多次会面

库巴向MarketWatch透露,她与美国证券交易委员会的人员进行了多次电话和当面交谈,但目前没有证据表明该委员会是否真的正在进行调查。

投资顾问公司Bel Air Investment Advisors的总法律顾问兼首席合规官、曾经担任美国证券交易委员会执法律师的安迪·邓巴表示:“如果他们收到一家上市公司的财务分析师的投诉,指控该公司存在会计违规行为,我认为他们应该会对此留意”,而不是轻易地置之不理。“谁知道她对证券交易委员会说了什么?她可能掌握着更多细节。”(财富中文网)

译者:艾伦

审校:夏林

Disney is supposed to be in the business of making magic—but not with its numbers.

A former senior financial analyst for the Walt Disney Company has filed multiple claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the company’s accounting practices, according to a report by MarketWatch.

Sandra Kuba claims that employees at Disney falsely inflated revenue for years. Some of the alleged methods included pretending that complimentary golf games or other free or discounted promotional services and products were paid in full. Software flaws supposedly allowed these and other misstatements to be entered.

Disney, in a statement to Fortune, denied the claims had any merit. Kuba was “fired for cause” in 2017 and has “persistently made patently false claims for over two years,” a company spokesman said. Her claims have been “thoroughly investigated and found to be utterly baseless,” the spokesman added, and MarketWatch “has been aware of the facts for months.”

Here's what we know so far.

The whistleblower says she told management

Public companies live and die by their revenues and profits. Regulators require full and accurate financial statements so investors can see a company’s performance.

Kuba claims that Disney manipulated many small transactions, allegedly at its theme parks, misrepresenting their actual value and, when totaled, significantly increasing the company’s revenues.

In Disney’s 2009 fiscal year, the parks and resorts business unit showed $10.7 billion in revenue. Kuba says the number could have been inflated by upwards of $6 billion.

She claims to have repeatedly reported the problems to Disney management. Kuba says she contacted the SEC in 2017 and was fired a month after.

Investors aren’t worried

Shares were down only 0.12%, suggesting that investors were not terribly alarmed. Some experts who spoke with Fortune expressed doubts about the larger claims.

“This is the first report that I’ve heard of,” said Joseph Bonner, a senior analyst for technology, media, and communications at equities analysis firm Argus Research Company. “I have to say that $6 billion sounds a little unbelievable.”

James Angel, a professor of finance at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, was similarly unconvinced. “Disney is a master of financial engineering,” he said. “If there’s a loophole available, would they have exploited it? I don’t doubt it. Would they have committed financial fraud? I’d be shocked.”

Angel thought that it was more likely that a mid-level manager trying to push their numbers up, if anything at all—but that internal auditors would probably have uncovered the practice.

Kuba says she’s met with the SEC multiple times

Kuba told MarketWatch she had multiple phone and in-person meetings with SEC personnel. There is no evidence that the agency is even undertaking an investigation.

“If they get a complaint from a financial analyst at a publicly-traded company alleging accounting irregularities, my bet is that they would give that a second look” rather than quickly dismissing it, said Andy Dunbar, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Bel Air Investment Advisors and a former SEC enforcement attorney. “And who knows what she told to the SEC? She could have a lot more detail.”

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