eBay Plans Options Water Safety Course

Published on March 11, 2009
by John Paczkowski

no_drowningjpgApparently, fear of a deepening recession alone isn’t enough to maintain tech worker loyalty these days–mounting job losses be damned. This week, Google (GOOG) repriced millions of employee stock options that had gone underwater as the company’s share price declined. Now eBay (EBAY) hopes to do the same. The reason: employee retention.

In a regulatory filing today, the company said it has asked shareholders to approve a plan to offer employees the opportunity to swap underwater stock options for restricted stock. “Like many companies, we have experienced a significant decline in our stock price over the last year in light of the current global financial and economic crisis,” eBay explained in its argument for implementing the plan. “Because of the continued challenging economic environment and the uncertain impact of our efforts to change our business, we believe these underwater stock options are no longer effective as incentives to motivate and retain our employees.”

And this may well be the case. That said, you’d think that the widespread and fast-mounting job losses in the tech sector would be enough to keep most folks still collecting paychecks coming in to work. Nice gesture, though.

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