Option Scandal Costs Firms $10 billion; Monster Restates Earnings

By Staff Report

Oct. 25, 2006

The stock option backdating scandal has cost the more than 150 companies involved so far more than $10 billion in lost market value and additional compensation costs, according to a recent report.

Glass Lewis & Co., a research firm that advises institutional investors how to vote on proxy matters, said in a report released Monday, October 23, that 152 companies have so far disclosed internal or government investigations into backdating, Including of Monster Worldwide.

On Wednesday, October 25, Monster–which owns the leading job board Web site–said it would restate nine years of financial results to correct stock option expenses. Monster’s stock price reached nearly $60 in early May, but the shares now fetch less than $40.

The overall options scandal has caused companies to shed $5.1 billion of market value and forced them to recognize an extra $5.2 billion of pretax compensation expenses.

At least 44 executives and directors have been fired or resigned, the report said.

Those who have left include Andrew McKelvey, founder and former CEO of Monster Worldwide Inc. McKelvey stepped aside this month to devote his attention to investigations by the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission into his company’s option-granting practices.

Aaron Elstein

Aaron Elstein is a senior reporter covering Wall Street for Crain’s New York Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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