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Ellison to flog $150m in Oracle shares

Stock options for Owners

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Stock options for owners - who needs them? Obviously Michael Dell, who trousered a couple of hundred million bucks through the sale of optioned stock at the beginning of January.

And now Larry Ellison, Oracle founder and gazillionare is getting in on the act, with plans to sell $150m worth of Oracle shares, bought through a "stock option exercise".

Ellison announced the proposed sale through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 22. He gave notice that he planned to flog five million shares, worth around $30 each. The stock's estimated date of sale was Monday. It is not known how much he'll will make off the sale.

Ellison, who owns a quarter of the California-based company, has already sold more than 331,000 shares this month, valued at around $10.6 million. Last June he opted to be granted options for 20 million shares in lieu of salary and bonuses over the next few years.

Drew Cullen writes The compensation committees that agree stock option deals on this scale with owner/operators are doing a poor job on behalf of other shareholders. They should be fired.

Bill Gates, another multi-billionaire you may have heard off, does not take share options. Why? Because he is an owner.

Stock options, as capitalist hero Warren Buffet argues so succinctly, are compensation for employees - no more, no less. But when you heare the names "Ellison" and "Dell", do you think "wage slave". Of course not, they are owners in part (or in lot) of their respective companies - not in the wishy-washy "we reserve 10 per cent of the company's share capital for staff who we love and respect deeply".

No, Ellison and Dell are owners in the sense of owning huge amounts of stock and holding huge amounts of power in the companies that they founded and still run.

Capital appreciation from their shareholdings and a salary commensurate with the job they do should be reward enough. And please don't tell me that they need the incentive to do their jobs. Ego simply does not work like this. ®

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