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Indeed, we found that the stock price pattern is much weaker since the new reporting regulation took effect.
Any remaining pattern is concentrated on the couple of days between the reported grant date and the filing date (when backdating still might work), and for longer periods for the minority of grants that violate the two-day reporting requirements.
To the extent that companies comply with this new regulation, backdating should be greatly curbed.
Thus, if backdating explains the stock price pattern around option grants, the price pattern should diminish following the new regulation.
The graph below shows the dramatic effect of this new requirement on the lag between the grant and filing dates.We interpret these findings as strong evidence that backdating explains most of the price pattern around ESO grants.There is also some relatively early anecdotal evidence of backdating.The number of shares subject to option was 250,000 and the exercise price was (the trough in the stock price graph below.) Given a year-end price of , the intrinsic value of the options at the end of the year was (-) x 250,000 = ,750,000.In comparison, had the options been granted at the year-end price when the decision to grant to options actually might have been made, the year-end intrinsic value would have been zero.
Thus, an artificially low exercise price might alter the tax payments for both the company and the option recipient.