Google's New Employee Stock Option Program

Reuters is reporting that Google will instate a program to allow employees to sell vested stock options early, beginning in April. The program will be called the Transferable Stock Options (TSO) program.

The stock went public in 2004 and employees were given stock options. Those that were hired since, were given options upon hire date. Up until now, employees had to wait until the stocks vested, at which time they could either hold them, or exercise them and then hold or sell the stock. With the TSO program, employees can now “transfer (sell) their options to a financial institution through a competitive bidding process,” according to the official Google blog. The bidding process will be managed by Morgan Stanley.

This will raise the value of the options, while raising the cost of options to Google. Currently, the price of a single share of Google is approximately $481.

“The goal is quite simple,” David Rolefson, Google’s manager of equity and compensation, told Reuters. “It is to increase the perceived value of the option to the employee.”