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Therefore, the alternative hypothesis we propose, which we broadly label Agency Hypothesis, is that a firm’s involvement in the backdating scandal has significant economic implications, despite its limited (direct) impact on cash flows.Under this hypothesis, the losses generated by the option backdating scandal can arise because management’s involvement in backdating practices may prompt investors to reassess the agency costs stemming from the separation of ownership and control.Meanwhile, Silicon Valley's top lawyers are scrambling to assuage their clients' fears, and the U. Security and Exchange Commission has said that the investigation will expand beyond technology companies to other publicly traded outfits.Already, some companies have begun restating years worth of financial results.To try to answer some questions about what's going on, CNET has compiled the following list of frequently asked questions. Backdating, which refers to the practice of altering the dates of grants, is a way for employees of a company to make additional money from stock options.While it's not necessarily illegal, in many cases it could be. The Securities and Exchange Commission said last week that at least 80 companies are the subject of a probe.Also, some companies have independently confirmed that they've been contacted by federal investigators.Those include Altera, Applied Micro Circuits, Asyst Technologies, CNET Networks (publisher of CNET News.com), Equinix, Foundry Networks, Intuit, Marvell Technology Group, RSA Security and Veri Sign.

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Our analysis focuses on 129 firms identified by the Wall Street Journal as implicated in the backdating scandal as of December 31, 2006.

We independently identify 764 firm specific backdating-related news events taking place on 580 separate firm-dates.

In addition, and The Cheesecake Factory have announced their own, preemptive investigations. Stock options give the recipient the right to buy a share of a company's stock at a price called the strike price, which is equal to the value of the stock on a certain date.

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If, for example, the strike price is and the shares now trade at , each option would be worth . INITIAL_PROPS_HEADER = {"data":,"id":"wsj/header","context":{"article Id":"SB114265075068802118","author":"Charles Forelle and James Bandler","breakpoint":"lg","corp Hat":[,],"customer Nav":{"user":null,"ads":,"urls":{"login Url":"https://com/login?