Foursquare Lets Employees Swap Out Underwater Options

In the wake of its recent down round, Foursquare will allow any employee  to convert out-of-the-money stock options into restricted stock units, or RSUs, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The move, which will go into effect over the next few weeks, ensures employees will have stock of some value. Unlike options, which convert to stock at a certain price, RSUs are already shares which vest over time–in this case, over one year. Foursquare’s employees can convert underwater options to RSUs at a ratio “very close” to one-to-one, the spokeswoman said. She declined to say how many options are underwater.

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Both the exchange program and the new RSU pool will give more equity to workers, and the spokeswoman said they were “for the sake of ensuring that our employees’ best interests are put first.” But that means the moves are also dilutive to investors and other shareholders–especially those in earlier rounds who would split a payout from any acquisition with common shareholders.

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Both the exchange program and the new RSU pool will give more equity to workers, and the spokeswoman said they were “for the sake of ensuring that our employees’ best interests are put first.”