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Altering the Terms of Executive Stock Options

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  • Menachem Brenner
  • Rangarajan K. Sundaram
  • David Yermack

Abstract

This paper examines the practice of resetting of the terms of previously-issued executive stock options. We identify the properties of the typical reset option, characterize the firms that have reset options, and develop a model to value options that may be reset. In our sample of 396 executives whose options had terms reset in 1992-95 period, a large majority had exercise prices reset to the market price. This resulted in a reduction of the typical option's exercise price by about 40%. Slightly less than half of these options also had their maturities extended, generally receiving a new expiration of 10 years. We find that resetting has a strong negative relationship with firm performance even after correcting for industry performance. Resetting is also significantly more common among small firms than among large firms. However, few other industry- or firm-specific factors appear to matter. Finally, we find that the possibility of resetting does not have a large impact on the ex-ante value of an option award, but the ex-post gain can be substantial.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business- in its series New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires with number 98-010.

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Date of creation: 08 Feb 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fth:nystfi:98-010

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Postal: U.S.A.; New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics . 44 West 4th Street. New York, New York 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0100
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/finance/
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  1. Gilson, Stuart C & Vetsuypens, Michael R, 1993. " CEO Compensation in Financially Distressed Firms: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 425-58, June.
  2. Yermack, David, 1997. " Good Timing: CEO Stock Option Awards and Company News Announcements," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 449-76, June.
  3. Mark Rubinstein., 1994. "On the Accounting Valuation of Employee Stock Options," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-241, University of California at Berkeley.
  4. Brenner, Menachem & Sundaram, Rangarajan K. & Yermack, David, 2000. "Altering the terms of executive stock options," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 103-128, July.
  5. Seyhun, H Nejat, 1992. "The Effectiveness of the Insider-Trading Sanctions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 149-82, April.
  6. Yermack, David, 1995. "Do corporations award CEO stock options effectively?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 237-269.
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