The authors would like to thank Erik Lie, Svein-Arne Persson, and Wei Xiong for comments and discussions.
Companies would simply wait for a period in which the company's stock price fell to a low and then moved higher within a two-month period.
An example illustrates the potential benefit of backdating to the recipient.
The Wall Street Journal (see discussion of article below) pointed out a CEO option grant dated October 1998.
The act of options backdating has become much more difficult as companies are now required to report the granting of options to the SEC within two business days.
This adjustment to the filing window came in with the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation.