Option madness…

June 3, 2004

Though it’s hard to get really worked up about a stock that’s trading under a buck, the options madness at Penton Media (PENT.OB), a once high-flying b-to-b media company that now trades on the Nasdaq Bulletin Board, is pretty extreme. Penton’s four top executives received over 90% of the stock options granted to employees last year, according to its proxy. Outgoing CEO Thomas Kemp received 100,000 options with an exercise price of 37 cents, which the company said was 37.9% of the employee options granted last year. Giving away scads of options as an incentive might make sense if Kemp and Co. were getting token salaries while the company was rebuilding. But that’s not exactly the case. Last year, Kemp made $600,000 and received a $150,000 bonus, which was nearly 20 % more than his salary and bonus in 2002.

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