When Bad Options Happen to Good People

3 Oct ’06

It would seem that The Recorder is developing a bit of a fetish for Larry Sonsini. Fresh on the heels of unflattering coverage in the HP saga and unwelcome mentions in the course of the option backdating scandal, there now appears to be some question about a presciently-timed grant to the Novell board, including Sonsini, some years back. From the WSJ Law Blog summary:

This story, written by the Recorder’s Justin Scheck, alleges that Sonsini, while on the board of Novell Inc., was given 50,000 stock options on Oct. 26, 1999, when the stock was priced at an all-time low and just before good news boosted the stock. (The rest of the board members received the same number of options.) “It doesn’t smell good,” said Boalt Hall School of Law professor Jesse Fried, an expert in corporate governance and insider trading. “This was at the annual low and was an off-cycle grant, and it’s highly likely that this was spring-loaded.” Neither Sonsini nor representatives from Novell commented for the article.

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