NEW YORK - To mark the creation of the next great brand in communications, some 210,000 employees of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) will receive a financial stake in the future success of their new company through a company-wide stock option program announced today. It is the largest broad-based option grant ever made in the telecommunications industry.
This "Founders' Grant" will provide the company's eligible employees with options to purchase a total of 55 million shares of Verizon common stock. Verizon Communications is the national communications company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE.
"Through this extraordinary program, we are celebrating the tremendous promise of Verizon Communications and encouraging our employees, who are the founders of this new company, to help shape its future," said Verizon Chairman and co-CEO Charles R. Lee.
The stock options are priced at $43.34 per share and will vest in three years. Recipients will include benefits-eligible hourly, salaried and part-time workers on Verizon's U.S. payroll and select international and overseas payrolls as of Sept. 7, 2000. Verizon Wireless has separate benefit programs, and its workers are not included in the Founders' Grant program.
"Our talented workforce is focused on making Verizon the world's most respected brand in communications," said Verizon President and co-CEO Ivan Seidenberg. "The Founders' Grant provides our employees a long-term stake in our company and enables them to participate with our shareholders in the growth of the company's value."
Under the program, eligible employees below director level, who represent the majority of Verizon's workforce, will receive options to purchase between 100 and 700 shares, based on their employment category. Directors and above will receive grants according to their levels of responsibility.
Grants of 100 options to approximately 85,000 union-represented employees of the former Bell Atlantic are included in the Founders' Grant program and were announced previously. Some 40,000 union-represented employees of the former GTE also will receive grants of 100 options. Part-time employees will be eligible for one-half of the grant size in their category.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 100 million access line equivalents and 25.6 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com .
NOTE: This press release contains statements about expected future events and financial results that are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following important factors could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: materially adverse changes in economic conditions in the markets served by us or by companies in which we have substantial investments; material changes in available technology; the final outcome of federal, state, and local regulatory initiatives and proceedings, including arbitration proceedings, and judicial review of those initiatives and proceedings, pertaining to, among other matters, the terms of interconnection, access charges, universal service, and unbundled network element and resale rates; the extent, timing, success, and overall effects of competition from others in the local telephone and toll service markets; the timing and profitability of our entry into the in-region long distance market; our ability to combine former Bell Atlantic and GTE operations, satisfy regulatory conditions and obtain revenue enhancements and cost savings following the merger; the profitability of our entry into the nationwide broadband access market, including the impact of our transaction with Northpoint Communications; the ability of Verizon Wireless to combine operations and obtain revenue enhancements and cost savings; and our ability to convert our ownership interest in Genuity Inc. into a controlling interest consistent with regulatory conditions, and Genuity's ensuing profitability.