Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Do I dare to disagree with an Investor's Business Daily Op-ed? "Backdating Bunkum"

Boy, that would require some chutzpah. OK.

(link is below)

IBD: "Since Aug. 29, 2002, companies have been required to report new option grants within two days, which does not leave much opportunity for changing the date. So the alleged 'backdating scandal' — an artifact of capricious changes in tax and accounting regulations between 1992 and 2002 — is ancient history by now."

My reply: Not for the companies restating their earnings, unable to get their 10-Qs out on time, facing lawsuits, and definitely not for the individuals with adverse career consequences or even he prospect of having to defend themselves against criminal charges for falsification of corporate records.

IBD: "Another key myth is that there is something inherently unfair about receiving stock options 'in the money' (priced below some later market price)."

My reply: Priced below the then current price would be more correct! It is wrong. it is unfair. It is in a very real sense theft of corporate value from the other stockholders. For example, I cannot buy Apple or HP or Dell stock at the lowest price of the last month, quarter, or whatever. Neither can you. I couldn't if I was a stockholder either. Pay him his salary. Give him his benefits. Give him a bazillion options. But do it all honestly. Or are all these implicated big-shot executives too poor or inherently too devious to just do it right?


IBD Editorials: 'Backdating' Bunkum

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