SEC raises questions about Amazon.com’s accounting practices

Herald staff

SEATTLE — Amazon.com is facing a busy holiday season, one that may be complicated by inquiries by the Securities and Exchange Commission about the company’s accounting practices.

Amazon.com officials said the regulatory agency had questions about how it accounted for shares it received from its partner companies in exchange for services, such as featuring the partner’s Web site on Amazon’s home page.

Amazon.com characterized the SEC’s interest as "informal." A spokesman for the SEC would not comment on the matter and would not confirm if a more formal probe would take place.

  • Bank stock split: Coastal Community Bank plans a 3-for-1 stock split following approval by its board of directors. Stockholders will get two more shares for each share they own of the Everett-based bank, officials said. The bank’s shares are not publicly traded. Coastal opened a branch in Sultan earlier this month and now has more than $45 million in assets.

  • Still seeking a profit: Revenues increased dramatically in the third quarter for Bothell-based SonoSite Inc., but the fledgling company is still seeking its first profit, officials said Wednesday. The maker of portable ultrasound equipment took in $8.3 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, losing $4.6 million overall, or 49 cents a share. That compares to a loss of 79 cents per share for the same period in 1999. The company just started shipping its hand-held ultrasound device late last year. "We are extremely pleased with the progression of our direct sales force in the U.S.," said Kevin M. Goodwin, president and CEO of SonoSite.

  • Wednesday prices: Gold sold for $266.80 a troy ounce, silver sold for $4.825 and platinum sold for $588.30.
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