Bullet Dodging

DEFINITION of 'Bullet Dodging'

A form of option granting in which the award of options is delayed until a piece of bad news becomes known to the public and the stock's price falls. Because an option's strike price is often determined by what the underlying stock's price is on the grant date, waiting for the stock price to drop allows option holders to gain some additional benefit in the form of a lowered strike price.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bullet Dodging'

For example, suppose that XYZ Corp. had planned to grant stock options for its CEO on May 7, 2007. However, XYZ Corp. is going to release its earnings a week later, on May 14, and it is believed that the earnings will be under guidance. Because the company didn't meet its earnings projections, the share price will likely drop. Moving the option-granting date to May 15 is likely to cause the option's strike price to be lower compared to if the grant date had been on May 7.

This practice is fairly controversial, as some feel that bullet dodging may be a form of insider trading because the option holder, who is usually a member of the company's management, will benefit by using information that is not available to the public.

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