Report: SEC scrutinizes AOL's deal with PurchasePro

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has broadened its probe of AOL Time Warner Inc.'s (AOLTW) financial practices to examine the company's relationship with Las Vegas software company PurchasePro Inc., according to a published report.

AOLTW is under investigation by both the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for alleged financial misdealing such as improperly booking revenue from business partners like PurchasePro. AOLTW forged a deal with the business purchasing software company in March of 2000 whereby it agreed to help PurchasePro sell its software in return for part of the revenue and warrants for PurchasePro's stock.

According to a report in Friday's online edition of the Wall Street Journal, AOLTW is being investigated for cashing in US$27 million worth of PurchasePro stock and booking it as advertising revenue.

No one from AOLTW or PurchasePro was immediately available to comment on the investigation Friday morning.

Authorities' investigation into AOLTW's dealings with PurchasePro is just part of a larger probe into the company's financial practices, which came into question following reports in the Washington Post last month that the company made unusual deals in an effort to prop up its sagging AOL Internet unit.

The SEC has declined to comment on the investigation.

AOLTW's stock (AOL) dipped 4.26 percent to $11.01 in early trading Friday.

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More about AOLDepartment of JusticeDOJPurchaseProSECSecurities and Exchange CommissionTime WarnerWall Street

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