NEW YORK - Verizon Communications, the No. 1 U.S. local-telephone company, said yesterday that it will grant 210,000 employees options to buy 55 million shares of stock to give them a stake in the carrier's financial performance.
The "Founders' Grant" options are priced at $43.34 per share, about equal to the current share price, the company said. They will vest in three years. Recipients will include certain hourly, salaried and part-time workers on Verizon's U.S. payroll and some international and overseas employees.
Verizon stock rose 93.75 cents to $44.3125 yesterday.
The majority of Verizon's work force will receive options to purchase 100 to 700 shares. Managers in director-level jobs or above will receive grants based on their levels of responsibility.
Last month, the company agreed to grant options on 100 shares of stock to about 85,000 union employees of the former Bell Atlantic Corp. to settle an 18-day strike.
About 40,000 union employees of the former GTE Corp. also will get grants of 100 options, the company said. Verizon had 2.7 billion shares outstanding as of June 30, according to a filing at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Part-time employees will be eligible for half the grant size in their category. Verizon Wireless workers have a separate benefit programs and are ineligible for the options announced yesterday.