Involves backdating

If the stock increased to a share, the holder could exercise the option, pay /share to acquire the stock, then turn around and sell it for /share, earning

If the stock increased to $11 a share, the holder could exercise the option, pay $10/share to acquire the stock, then turn around and sell it for $11/share, earning $1/share in profit ($1,000 in total).

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If the stock increased to $11 a share, the holder could exercise the option, pay $10/share to acquire the stock, then turn around and sell it for $11/share, earning $1/share in profit ($1,000 in total).

If the stock dropped below $10/share, the stock would be "under water"; therefore, the option would not be exercised, since the stock price is lower than the cost of exercising the option.

Basically, a stock option is a contract right to purchase an amount of stock at a set price for a period of time.

For instance, if a stock was worth $10 a share, a stock option may grant an option holder the right to purchase $1,000 shares at $10 a share for a period of 5 years.

Subsequently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took an interest, followed by the securities plaintiffs’ bar and many corporations. The practice of options backdating, apparently widespread from 1996 through 2002, is widely believed to have been short-circuited by the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002.

Although backdating had not yet been recognized as a problem, the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley requiring that insiders report the acquisition of securities, including options, within two days of receipt greatly hindered the ability of corporations to backdate options.

The practice of “backdating” stock option grants has recently captured the attention of regulators, prosecutors, the plaintiffs’ bar, shareholders and the media.

/share in profit (

If the stock increased to $11 a share, the holder could exercise the option, pay $10/share to acquire the stock, then turn around and sell it for $11/share, earning $1/share in profit ($1,000 in total).

||

If the stock increased to $11 a share, the holder could exercise the option, pay $10/share to acquire the stock, then turn around and sell it for $11/share, earning $1/share in profit ($1,000 in total).

If the stock dropped below $10/share, the stock would be "under water"; therefore, the option would not be exercised, since the stock price is lower than the cost of exercising the option.

Basically, a stock option is a contract right to purchase an amount of stock at a set price for a period of time.

For instance, if a stock was worth $10 a share, a stock option may grant an option holder the right to purchase $1,000 shares at $10 a share for a period of 5 years.

Subsequently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took an interest, followed by the securities plaintiffs’ bar and many corporations. The practice of options backdating, apparently widespread from 1996 through 2002, is widely believed to have been short-circuited by the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley in 2002.

Although backdating had not yet been recognized as a problem, the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley requiring that insiders report the acquisition of securities, including options, within two days of receipt greatly hindered the ability of corporations to backdate options.

The practice of “backdating” stock option grants has recently captured the attention of regulators, prosecutors, the plaintiffs’ bar, shareholders and the media.

,000 in total).

The investigation "found that CEO Steve Jobs was aware or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates." The committee hastens to add that Jobs "did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications." In other words, he didn't recommend backdating his own option grants.

The backdating problem was first highlighted by Professor Erik Lie of the University of Iowa, who published his initial study in 2004.

Professor Lie concluded that the robust profitability of so many options was statistically impossible absent some artificial influence such as backdating.

have led to the resignation of dozens of top executives and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal prosecutors. 29, Apple discussed the report and accounted for the impact of the earnings restatements in its 10-Q.

But the options scandal has never touched a more exciting company than Apple or a more thrilling executive than Jobs. In June 2006, a special committee of Apple outside directors, chaired by former Vice President Al Gore, hired its own attorneys to investigate options backdating at the company. It turns out there were literally thousands of examples of backdating at Apple—6,428 options grants on 42 dates over a period of several years.