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Options probe delays UnitedHealth quarterly report


MINNETONKA, Minn.--UnitedHealth Group Inc. has delayed filing its third-quarter earnings report with the Securities and Exchange Commission due to lingering uncertainty over potential earnings charges related to a stock options probe.

While the Minnetonka, Minn.-based insurer said it has substantially completed its internal analysis of a report that found several stock option grants awarded to company executives were backdated, the company is not yet able to determine the final amount of charges that will be included in resulting financial restatements.

The insurer, though, expects that a restatement of several years of financial results could reduce earnings by more than the $286 million previously estimated, according to an SEC filing.

UnitedHealth faces numerous shareholder class action lawsuits alleging harm caused by backdated stock options. The insurer is the subject of an informal SEC inquiry and has received a subpoena over options practices from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.