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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.
We interpret these findings as strong evidence that backdating explains most of the price pattern around ESO grants.
Thus, if backdating explains the stock price pattern around option grants, the price pattern should diminish following the new regulation.
Indeed, we found that the stock price pattern is much weaker since the new reporting regulation took effect.
An example illustrates the potential benefit of backdating to the recipient.For several years, Micrel allowed its employees to choose the lowest price for the stock within 30 days of receiving the options.After these stock option terms came to the attention of the IRS in 2002, it worked out a secret deal with Micrel that would allow Micrel to escape million in taxes and required the IRS to keep quiet about the option terms.Furthermore, the pre-and post-grant price pattern has intensified over time (see graph below).By the end of the 1990s, the aggregate price pattern had become so pronounced that I thought there was more to the story than just grants being timed before corporate insiders predicted stock prices to increase.