The Economic Dilution of Employee Stock Options: Diluted Eps for Valuation and Financial Reporting
44 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 1999
Date Written: December 2001
We derive a measure of diluted EPS that incorporates economic implications of the dilutive effects of employee stock options. We show that the existing FASB treasury-stock method of accounting for the dilutive effects of outstanding options systematically understates the dilutive effect of stock options, and thereby overstates reported EPS. Using firm-wide data on 731 employee stock option plans, we find that economic dilution from options in our proposed measure of options-diluted EPS is, on average, 100% greater than dilution in reported diluted EPS using the FASB treasury-stock method.
We examine the implications of our analysis for stock price valuation, the price-earnings relation, and the return-earnings relation. We demonstrate analytically that when firms have options outstanding, empirical applications of equity valuation models that use reported per share earnings as an input (e.g., Ohlson, 1995), yield upwardly biased estimates of the market value of common stock. We predict that observed return-earnings and price-earnings coefficients are expected to be smaller the greater the difference between our measure of economic dilution from options and FASB treasury-stock method dilution from options, and provide weak empirical support for this prediction.
JEL Classification: G12, M41, M44, M45
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation