Monday, March 01, 2010

Huge paper profits already seen on stock options

[Paper profits executives earned in less than a week]

A slew of stock options showered on a dozen top executives last week are already worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, based on today's closing price. Gannett's stock closed at $15.93 a share moments ago, as overall newspaper stocks surged amid rumors -- later denied -- that the New York Times Co. was a takeover target.

The options awarded last week by the board of directors allow the executives to buy Gannett shares from the company for $15 a share -- the "strike price" -- no matter how high the market price goes. They may buy and then sell the shares, called "exercising" them, in four equal annual installments starting Feb. 24, 2011, newly disclosed company documents show.

The 93-cent difference between this afternoon's closing price and the $15 strike price means, for example, that CEO Craig Dubow's 480,000 options have now jumped in value to a net $446,400 -- in less than a week. See the chart, above, for paper value increases for all 12 executives.

[Data: Google Finance]


  1. Jim you were a business reporter for heavens sake. Options are purposely designed to compensate executives when the stock price goes up. Wall Street drives the price up. They only do so if they see value in a company. Come on, educate the folks about options rather than make it look like some evil conspiracy. Those same executives have options at $80 a share as well. We should all be so fortunate that they cash those in. You were/are a reporter, so report the facts. Inform your readers how options work. It is obvious most don't understand the concept.

  2. I think you've read something into this post that isn't there. I didn't call it evil, or a conspiracy. That said, I'll do my best to provide more context in the future.

  3. Many institutions limit access to their online information. Making this information available will be an asset to all.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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