Bubble, schmubble….

October 27, 2005

Though lots of people are losing sleep over the possibility of a real estate bubble, the top execs at William Lyon Homes (WLS), a company that has been building lots of homes in some of the most bubblelicious markets including Las Vegas and San Diego, have little to worry about, even as the company’s stock continues to sag.

That’s because according to the recent proxy, executives have been able to squirrel away their bonuses for a future rainy day. The summary compensation chart, which is somewhat unusual, lists two types of bonuses — one earned in prior years, but paid during the current fiscal year; and another column of bonuses earned this year, but paid in future years. Figuring out what was earned when requires an extensive dive into the footnotes. But the numbers are clearly hefty. For example, Chairman and CEO William Lyon collected just over $4 million this year for bonuses made in previous years, but stands to collect over $10.1 million at some point in the future, based on his bonus this year. Ditto for Wade Cable, president and COO who also collected $4 million this year and has access to another $10.1 million at some point in the future. The other three top execs also did well and stand to do well in the future.

So let the bubble begin. Who cares if the stock price drops another $45 over the course of a month? With nearly $30 million in bonuses already waiting in the wings, does it even really matter?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.