Friday, July 02, 2004

Question for Jay

I work for a company where they offer an ESPP--we lock in a price at the beginning of a 2 yr purchase plan period, based on closing FMV on the day before purchase minus 15%. That lock-in is good for 2 years (4 buys), unless the stock falls below that price any time during the 2 yr period, then it's repriced and the 2 yrs starts over again. Whew.

Ok, so I've always participated in the ESPP (that's how I was able to buy a house out here in stupidly-expensive California), but now we're getting ready to merge with another company. The guys making all the money, the CEOs and such, are calling it a merger, but we're taking *their* name, logo, policies, etc. Sucks.

Anyway, our last buy will be July 31st. The merger is scheduled to close sometime late Q3, so the board has decided to suspend the plan. Assuming the SEC approved the details of the merger as presented (actually, we already got a shortened notification period and don't have to wait the requisite 30 days, now it's all down to the final due diligence), all shareholders will get 1.55 shares of new company for each 1 share of my company, as well as $7.00 per share.

Here's my question, finally: Do you think I'd be better off holding the shares so I can get more quantity from new company as well as the $7.00 per, or do you think I should dump them as soon as the purchase is made and guarantee myself at *least* a 15% profit (or more, if the FMV on closing is higher than my lock-in)?

Alright, I know that's not fair to ask. But from your standpoint, what would you do if it was you? Not a client, but YOU?

Thanks, Hon! I owe ya one. ;)