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Home Q&A Forum Stock option agreement and stock splits?

Securities

Stock Option Agreement

California

Asked on Jul 8, 2023

Stock option agreement and stock splits?

I am an employee of a company that is planning to offer stock options as part of my compensation package. I am trying to understand what would happen if my company does a stock split. Would my stock options be affected by the split, and if so, how? I want to make sure I understand the implications of a stock split before I accept the stock options as part of my compensation.

1 Attorney answer

Answer

Securities

California

Answered 341 days ago

Thaddeus W.

ContractsCounsel verified

Business Lawyer
Licensed in California, New York
Free Consultation

Good question! Typically, a stock split will result in an appropriate adjustment to an option award so that, after the adjustment, the option holder (you, in this case) is "made whole" -- that is, you are effectively in the same place economically (as far as this option is concerned) after the split with the option as you were before. If you look at your company's Stock Plan (the plan under which your options were authorized and granted to you), you will probably find a section called "Changes in Capitalization." (Or, you can search to document for the word "split" and may be able to find the governing provision that way.) The provision might be included in your Stock Option Agreement, but typically it is covered in the Plan. Anyway, the provision (wherever it is located in your documents) would normally say something along the lines of the following: "In the event of a stock split (and other events), the following will occur: (i) the numbers and class of shares covered by your option award, (ii) the exercise price per share of each outstanding option, and (iii) any applicable repurchase price per share issued under any option award, will be automatically proportionately adjusted in the event of a stock split (or other event)." (Usually the language is even more "legalesey" but that's pretty much the jist of it.) Of course, its impossible to say for sure in your situation (or in any other specific situation) without seeing the relevant documents and knowing all other relevant details, but that would be the typical approach.

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