What is backdating

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Disordered, untimely paperwork was cited as the cause in some cases of unintentional backdating.

Initially, lax enforcement of the reporting rule was also blamed for allowing many companies to sidestep the rule adjustment that stemmed from Sarbanes-Oxley.

Thus, the FDIC and Weatherford could have made their transaction retroactive, but they didn’t document the deal clearly enough to do so.

The appellate court then considered whether, assuming that the FDIC/Weatherford transaction was retroactively effective (which it wasn’t), the retroactivity of that transaction had any legal effect on the transaction between the FDIC and FH Partners.

In this way, the exercise price of the granted option can be set at a lower price than that of the company's stock at the granting date.

For a shorter piece with a few practical tips see Backdating – it’s illegal isn’t it?

Setting aside such issues, avoiding unwanted side effects of backdating contracts can be tricky, especially when the purported effective date of an agreement is several months before the date it was actually signed, as can be seen in involves the ownership of a promissory note that was made to a bank in connection with a loan.

However, where a contract is ambiguous with respect to its effective date, the absence of an explanation for a retroactive effective date, and evidence that the parties had not agreed to the material terms of their contract as of the purported retroactive effective date, are relevant considerations in resolving the ambiguity.

We cannot conclude, therefore, that in resolving the inconsistency between the FDIC/Weatherford Agreement and the Termination of Participation Agreements, the trial court erroneously relied on these uncontested facts to find “a lack of mutual assent” with respect to a November 7, 2008 effective date.

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