Google keeps itself attractive to employees

Bambi Francisco Roizen · March 11, 2009 · Short URL:

Search engine reprices 7.64 million stock options

 Even though these tough times make it difficult for anyone to leave their job, a stock option that's well out of the money will surely get some people considering other opportunities. 

After all, one of the allures of working at public companies is the opportunity to cash in on stock options. 

But if you've started working for Google for the past couple years or so, there hasn't been many opportunities as many employees are sitting on over-the-money stock options. 

Google stands at $315 on Wednesday. Its share price has fallen from a 52-week high of $602.45, and peaked above $700 in late 2007. 

In order to keep its employees happy and well away from the point of considering leaving, Google repriced its options this week.

Google repriced 7.6 million options to a strike price of $308.57. Google said nearly 93% of all stock options repriced above $308.57 were exchanged, according to the New York Times. More than 6 million had been priced at $500 a share. More than 15,000 employees, or more than 74% of Google's 20,200 employees repriced theirs.

The option exchange will cost Google about $400 million in accounting charges over the next five years. 

It's a costly move and not so good for some shareholders who're definitely stuck with worthless shares unless Google's stock miraculously rally several hundred points.

But it's great for employees, as long as they stay on. The repricing requires a delayed vesting schedule.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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