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Options backdating is the practice of altering the date a stock option was granted, to a usually earlier (but sometimes later) date at which the underlying stock price was lower.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.Do you ever wish that you could turn back the hands of time?Some executives have, well, at least when it comes to their stock options.Most shareholder approved option plans prohibit in-the-money option grants (and thus, backdating to create in-the-money grants) by requiring that option exercise prices must be no less than the fair market value of the stock on the date when the grant decision is made. For example, because backdating is used to choose a grant date with a lower price than on the actual decision date, the options are effectively in-the-money on the decision date, and the reported earnings should be reduced for the fiscal year of the grant.
the much different – and more financially beneficial – tax rules that apply when issuing “at the money” or "out of the money" stock options.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.Backdating allows executives to choose a past date when the market price was particularly low, thereby inflating the value of the options.An example illustrates the potential benefit of backdating to the recipient.
Still, given that (a) backdating helps make earnings look better than they are; and (b) Jobs is a huge shareholder of Apple (10.12 million shares, as of last April), how could he not benefit from this behavior? Jobs recommended some backdating dates for other employees.