What is backdating stock options

The Wall Street Journal (see discussion of article below) pointed out a CEO option grant dated October 1998.

The number of shares subject to option was 250,000 and the exercise price was (the trough in the stock price graph below.) Given a year-end price of , the intrinsic value of the options at the end of the year was (-) x 250,000 = ,750,000.

Law360, New York (June 15, 2006, AM EDT) -- It is virtually impossible to pick up a newspaper these days and not see an article about the ever-growing list of companies being caught up in investigations concerning allegations of backdated stock options.

This is a way of repricing options to make them valuable or more valuable when the option "strike price" (the fixed price at which the owner of the option can purchase stock) is fixed to the stock price at the date the option was granted.

Those options give John the right but not the on the date of the grant.

The board formally grants the stock options to John every year at its January board meeting.

The case is notable for two reasons: it has been one of the few times that an options-backdating case actually went to trial, and it shows that CFOs and chief executives have no way to hide from improper expensing, even years later. Jasper appealed the case on trial errors he claims violated his rights, but did not dispute his knowledge of or involvement in the backdating scheme.

Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit agreed with a district court on Tuesday that the former CFO of semiconductor concern Maxim Integrated Products, Carl Jasper, would be on the hook for backdating stock options without expensing them.

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