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Posted by / 14-Aug-2016 10:20

Option back dating

Unsolicited e-mails and information sent to Morrison & Foerster will not be considered confidential, may be disclosed to others pursuant to our Privacy Policy, may not receive a response, and do not create an attorney-client relationship with Morrison & Foerster.If you are not already a client of Morrison & Foerster, do not include any confidential information in this message.Backdating allows executives to choose a past date when the market price was particularly low, thereby inflating the value of the options.An example illustrates the potential benefit of backdating to the recipient.

Most shareholder approved option plans prohibit in-the-money option grants (and thus, backdating to create in-the-money grants) by requiring that option exercise prices must be no less than the fair market value of the stock on the date when the grant decision is made. For example, because backdating is used to choose a grant date with a lower price than on the actual decision date, the options are effectively in-the-money on the decision date, and the reported earnings should be reduced for the fiscal year of the grant.

(Under APB 25, the accounting rule that was in effect until 2005, firms did not have to expense options at all unless they were in-the-money.

ESOs are usually granted at-the-money, i.e., the exercise price of the options is set to equal the market price of the underlying stock on the grant date.

Because the option value is higher if the exercise price is lower, executives prefer to be granted options when the stock price is at its lowest.

Also, please note that our attorneys do not seek to practice law in any jurisdiction in which they are not properly authorized to do so.

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In light of the Enron, Worldcom, option back dating, government bailouts/nationalizations and Madoff scandals, do you think U. equity markets are cleaner and more reliable than stock markets in the rest of the world?

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