What’s so gross?

August 22, 2007

images-13.jpegLate yesterday, Smith Micro Software (SMSI) filed its proxy. Though it wasn’t the most interesting proxy I’ve read — hey, it’s vacation time for most people, including the folks who write these things — there was an interesting footnote, actually 6 interesting footnotes, about $457K in tax gross-ups for each of the 6 executives listed in the summary compensation table.

CEO William Smith Jr. got the largest gross-up: just under $150K and CFO Andrew Schmidt’s gross-up was around $100K. The other four execs each got $52K. But what makes this strange is that there’s no details provided on what the gross-ups are for. Stock options? Bonuses? Something else? The proxy never gives a clue.

Speaking of odd disclosures in proxies, there was also this one from the proxy that ConAgra (CAG) filed last week: “The additional amounts for Mr. Buffett reflect the incremental cost to the company of his participation in the company’s medical plan”. That would be health insurance for Howard Buffett, the son of Warren, the Oracle of Omaha. While there’s no particular financial significance to this, it’s interesting enough in terms of the health insurance debate that the son of one of the wealthiest guys in the world has to rely on a board that he sits on to provide him with health insurance.

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