MMR » Topics » Stock Options

This excerpt taken from the MMR DEF 14A filed Apr 22, 2009.
Stock Options
 
We grant long-term incentives in the form of stock options to the company’s executive officers. Stock options are a variable component of compensation intended to provide a significant potential value that reinforces the importance of creating value for our stockholders. The recent dramatic change in economic conditions including the significant drop in oil and natural gas prices have resulted in a significant decrease in our company’s stock price, which reached a high of over $35 in mid-2008 and fell to below $10 at year-end. As a result of this decline, the majority of the outstanding stock options held by our executives are currently out-of-the-money, some by significant margins, and the value of long-term incentives currently held by our executives has significantly declined. We have a longstanding commitment to not reprice stock options and do not intend to amend or exchange any of our outstanding options.
 
The committee continues to believe that stock options are an effective and appropriate long-term incentive for our executives in that their value is dependent on an increase in our share price and aligns the executives’ interests with those of our stockholders. In 2008, and most recently in February 2009, we made annual stock option grants to all of our executive officers, including our co-chairmen of the board. Stock option grant levels were based upon the position and level of responsibility of the individual, and have remained at relatively consistent levels for our named executive officers in recent years. These annual grants vest ratably on the first four anniversaries of the grant date, have a term of ten years and an exercise price equal to the fair market value of our common stock on the grant date. All of our outstanding stock option grants vest fully upon a change in control of the company.
 
In addition, we also made special grants of stock options to the co-chairmen in lieu of their 2008 cash compensation as discussed below.
 
Grants in lieu of Salary to Co-Chairmen of the Board.  Annually since 2002, Messrs. Moffett and Adkerson have each agreed to receive a special grant of stock options in lieu of cash compensation. On January 28, 2008, the committee granted 250,000 options to Mr. Moffett and 150,000 options to Mr. Adkerson, each option being fully exercisable, having a term of ten years and an exercise price of $15.04, the fair market value on the grant date. Neither executive received a base salary in 2008 or an annual incentive award from the company for 2008.
 
Messrs. Moffett and Adkerson also agreed to forego all cash compensation during 2009 in exchange for special stock option grants. Accordingly, on February 2, 2009, the committee granted 250,000 options to Mr. Moffett and 150,000 options to Mr. Adkerson, each option being fully exercisable, having a term of ten years and having an exercise price of $6.44, the fair market value on the grant date. The number of options granted to each of our co-chairmen in connection with their agreements to forego cash compensation have


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been consistent for the last three years, although the grant date fair value of the award each year has fluctuated with the changes in our stock price. As noted above, we believe a grant of a set number of options is appropriate.
 
This excerpt taken from the MMR DEF 14A filed Apr 28, 2008.
Stock Options
 
A participant who is granted a stock option normally will not realize any income, nor will our company normally receive any deduction for federal income tax purposes, in the year the option is granted.
 
When a nonqualified stock option granted through the Plan is exercised, the participant will realize ordinary income measured by the difference between the aggregate purchase price of the shares acquired and the aggregate fair market value of the shares acquired on the exercise date and, subject to the limitations of Section 162(m) of the Internal Revenue Code, we will be entitled to a deduction in the year the option is exercised equal to the amount the participant is required to treat as ordinary income.
 
An employee generally will not recognize any income upon the exercise of any incentive stock option, but the excess of the fair market value of the shares at the time of exercise over the option price will be an item of tax preference, which may, depending on particular factors relating to the employee, subject the employee to the alternative minimum tax imposed by Section 55 of the Internal Revenue Code. The alternative minimum tax is imposed in addition to the federal individual income tax, and it is intended to ensure that individual taxpayers do not completely avoid federal income tax by using preference items. An employee will recognize capital gain or loss in the amount of the difference between the exercise price and the sale price on the sale or exchange of stock acquired pursuant to the exercise of an incentive stock option, provided the employee does not dispose of such stock within two years from the date of grant and one year from the date of exercise of the incentive stock option (the holding periods). An employee disposing of such shares before the expiration of the holding periods will recognize ordinary income generally equal to the difference between the option price and the fair market value of the stock on the date of exercise. The remaining gain, if any, will be capital gain. Our company will not be entitled to a federal income tax deduction in connection with the exercise of an incentive stock option, except where the employee disposes of the shares received upon exercise before the expiration of the holding periods.
 
If the exercise price of a nonqualified option is paid by the surrender of previously owned shares, the basis and the holding period of the previously owned shares carry over to the same number of shares received in exchange for the previously owned shares. The compensation income recognized on exercise of these options is added to the basis of the shares received. If the exercised option is an incentive stock option and the


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shares surrendered were acquired through the exercise of an incentive stock option and have not been held for the holding periods, the optionee will recognize income on such exchange, and the basis of the shares received will be equal to the fair market value of the shares surrendered. If the applicable holding period has been met on the date of exercise, there will be no income recognition and the basis and the holding period of the previously owned shares will carry over to the same number of shares received in exchange, and the remaining shares will begin a new holding period and have a zero basis.
 
This excerpt taken from the MMR DEF 14A filed Mar 26, 2007.
Stock Options
 
Stock option awards are intended to provide a significant potential value that reinforces the importance of creation of value for the company’s stockholders. We grant long-term incentives to the company’s executive officers as well as other officers and managers of the company in the form of stock options. In 2006, we made an annual stock option grant to all of our executive officers, including our co-chairmen of the board. Stock option grant levels were based upon the position and level of responsibility of the individual. These annual grants will vest ratably on the first four anniversaries of the grant date, have a term of ten years and an exercise price equal to the fair market value of our common stock on the grant date. In addition, we also made special grants of stock options to the co-chairmen in lieu of their 2006 cash compensation as discussed above.
 
Timing of Option Grants.  To the extent stock options or other equity awards are granted in a given year, the committee’s historical practice has been to grant such awards at its first meeting of that year, which is usually held in January or February. Each August, the board establishes a meeting schedule for itself and its committees for the next calendar year. Thus, this meeting is scheduled approximately five months in advance, and is scheduled to fall within the window period following the release of the company’s earnings for the


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fourth quarter of the previous year. In January 2007, the committee formally approved a written policy stating that it will approve all regular annual equity awards at its first or second meeting of each fiscal year, and that to the extent the committee approves any out-of-cycle awards at other times during the year, such awards will be made during an open window period during which our executive officers and directors are permitted to trade.
 
Determination of Option Exercise Price.  Under the company’s incentive plans, the exercise price of each stock option cannot be less than the fair market value of a share of our common stock on the grant date. Historically, we have used the average of the high and low sale price on the grant date to determine fair market value, and the exercise price of the stock options granted during 2006 was based on this price. In January 2007, the committee revised its policies going forward to provide that for purposes of our stock incentive plans, the fair market value of our common stock will be determined by reference to the closing sale price on the grant date.
 
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