OK, I'll return the $85 million, but I'm keeping the pony!
Crystal did a little checking and found that
The strike price of that grant was equal to the lowest closing price of Apple stock in the 56- and 30-calendar day periods preceding the grant and in the 30- 56- and 90-day periods following the grant.
Those grants, you may remember, were then exchanged for actual stock which, Crystal says, was basically of equal value using a likely valuation method.
Crystal suggests that Jobs either return $85 million – basically the difference between what he got at the favorable strike price and what he would have gotten if Apple had used an average price at the time he was first able to sell his shares – or not take any further compensation for a while.
Now, Crystal is a little pissy about the whole thing.
I’d sure like it if someone gave me a $75 million non- benefit.
Oh, really? OK, then. Just go out and start one of the preeminent technology companies in the world, get fired, start another company, get the first one to buy the second one, squeeze out the guy that brought you back and then negotiate yourself a sweet little $75 million non-benefit.
It’s not so easy being Steve, is it, Mr. Pissy Pants?
While it seems unlikely to the Macalope that Apple’s bean counters didn’t want to bother Jobs’ pretty little head with the detail that he was being awarded a favorable strike price, it’s certainly possible he didn’t know there was anything wrong with it.
That said, it does seem that Jobs could remove any hint of impropriety by returning something. Perhaps there are other valuation methodologies than Crystal’s that would keep Jobs from having to root through the sofa looking for spare change.
DISCLAIMER: The Macalope owns an insignificant number of Apple shares.