Friday, September 25, 2009

Google's option repricing.

Today the Wall Street Journal talks about the huge windfall that Google's employees received because the company repriced their stock options back in March.

At the time, Google argued that it was only fair to reset the strike price of the options because so many of them were so far out of the money due to the stock market collapse. Google wasn't alone. On March 23 Bloomberg reports that a range of companies were doing this.

When Google reset the options, the price of the stock was at $308, today the price is at $494. In effect Google orchestrated a massive wealth transfer from shareholders to employees. We're not talking chump change here either. The WSJ estimates the transfer was around $1.5 billion.

Their argument that they wanted to retain the best just doesn't fly. Would you quit your job with Google in the middle of the worst recession in 80 years?

As the Wall Street Journal points out, "Google is a different kind of company" - yes - one that gleefully fleeces its own shareholders.