University of Pittsburgh

Douglas Branson on Options Backdating

Professor Douglas Branson has an op-ed up at JURIST on the stock options backdating debate:
Corporate America has recently had to bare - or bear - yet another scandal, involving stock option grants to senior managers, mostly CEOs. So far, beginning with Summer 2006, over 130 public corporations, Corinthian included, have confessed to backdating stock option grants so as to increase the "take" by upper echelons of management. A subset of corporations admits to having "spring loaded options," timing grants of options to just before corporate announcement of material favorable developments, likely to spike the price further. So far prosecutors have brought criminal charges against 5 corporate executives. The average take is estimated at $1.3 million to $1.7 million per grant manipulation.
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