This excerpt taken from the THQI DEF 14A filed Jul 7, 2009.
Other Material Features of the ESPP
Eligibility. All regular employees of the Company (except for Senior Vice Presidents and above) who work more than twenty hours per week and more than five months in any calendar year, and who have completed at least ninety (90) days of continuous full-time employment with the Company on or before the first day of the applicable Offering Period will be eligible to participate in the ESPP. However, an employee will not be eligible to participate if, as a result of participating, that employee would hold five percent (5%) or more of the total combined voting power or value of all classes of stock of the Company or of any subsidiary. As of June 1, 2009, approximately 1,500 employees are eligible to participate in the ESPP.
Administration. The administration of the ESPP is overseen by the Compensation Committee of the Board. The Compensation Committee has full power and authority to adopt rules and regulations to administer the plan, to interpret the provisions of the ESPP, and subject to the express terms of the ESPP, to establish the terms of offerings under the ESPP. The decisions of the Compensation Committee are final and binding on all participants. All costs and expenses incurred in plan administration will be paid by THQ without charge to participants.
Payroll Deductions and Stock Purchases. Eligible employees of the Company may elect to participate in the ESPP by giving notice to the Company, which notice shall instruct the Company to withhold a specified percentage of the employee's base salary (in any multiple of 1% up to a maximum of 15%) on each pay period during the Offering Period. On the last business day of an Offering Period, the withheld salary will be used to purchase common stock at the Purchase Price. For purposes of the ESPP, fair market
value per share as of a particular date shall mean the average of the high and low trading prices of THQ's common stock as reported on NASDAQ on that date (or if there were no reported prices on such date, on the last preceding date on which the prices were reported). If, on the last day of an Offering Period, the number of shares of common stock to be purchased by all participants exceeds the number of shares then available for purchase under the ESPP, the Compensation Committee will make a pro rata allocation of the shares remaining available for purchase in as uniform a manner as shall be practicable and as it shall determine to be equitable. As of June 1, 2009, the closing price on NASDAQ for a share of THQ common stock was $7.09.
Termination of Participation. A participant may stop contributions to the ESPP at any time and his or her accumulated payroll deductions will, at the participant's election, either be promptly refunded if notice was received by the Compensation Committee or its designees at least thirty (30) days before the end of an Offering Period, or applied to the purchase of common stock on the next scheduled purchase date. The participant's purchase right will immediately terminate upon his or her cessation of employment for any reason. Any payroll deductions that the participant may have made for the purchase period in which such cessation of employment occurs will be refunded and will not be applied to the purchase of common stock.
Transferability. No purchase rights will be assignable or transferable by the participant, except by will or the laws of inheritance following a participant's death.
U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences. The following is a brief description of the Company's understanding of the federal income tax consequences to THQ and participants subject to U.S. taxation with respect to participation in the ESPP. This description may be inapplicable if such laws and regulations are changed. This summary is not intended to be exhaustive or constitute tax advice and does not address any state, local or foreign tax consequences.
The ESPP is intended to qualify as an "employee stock purchase plan" within the meaning of Section 423 of the Internal Revenue Code ("Code"). Under such an arrangement, no taxable income will be recognized by a participant, and no deductions will be allowable to THQ, upon either the grant or the exercise of the purchase rights. Taxable income will not be recognized by the participant until either there is a sale or other disposition of the shares acquired under the ESPP or in the event the participant should die while still owning the purchased shares.
If a participant sells or otherwise disposes of the purchased shares within two (2) years after his or her entry date into the purchase period in which such shares were acquired or within one (1) year after the actual purchase date of those shares, then the participant will recognize ordinary income in the year of sale or disposition equal to the amount by which the closing selling price of the shares on the purchase date exceeded the purchase price paid for those shares, and THQ will be entitled to an income tax deduction, for the taxable year in which such disposition occurs, equal in amount to such excess. The participant also will recognize a capital gain to the extent the amount realized upon the sale of the shares exceeds the sum of the aggregate purchase price for those shares and the ordinary income recognized in connection with their acquisition.
If a participant sells or disposes of the purchased shares more than two (2) years after his or her entry date into the purchase period in which the shares were acquired and more than one (1) year after the actual purchase date of those shares, the participant will recognize ordinary income in the year of sale or disposition equal to the lesser of (i) the amount by which the closing selling price of the shares on the sale or disposition date exceeded the purchase price paid for those shares or (ii) the amount by which the closing selling price of the shares on the purchase date exceeded the purchase price paid for those shares. Any additional gain upon the sale or disposition of the purchased shares will be taxed as a long-term capital gain. THQ will not be entitled to an income tax deduction with respect to such disposition.
If a participant still owns the purchased shares at the time of death, his or her estate will recognize ordinary income in the year of death equal to the lesser of (i) the amount by which the closing selling price
of the shares on the date of death exceeds the purchase price or (ii) fifteen percent (15%) of the closing selling price of the shares on the participant's entry date into the purchase period in which those shares were acquired.
The proposal to amend the THQ Inc. Employee Stock Purchase Plan requires the approval of the holders of a majority of the voting shares present at the annual meeting in person or by proxy and voting for or against this proposal. The failure to vote, abstentions and broker non-votes will have no effect on the outcome of this proposal.