Skype and Silver Lake, a large investor, recently fired a bunch of senior executives, allegedly to prevent their stock gaining real value in a forthcoming acquisition by Microsoft. Digging into the contracts’ legalese reveals an obfuscated clause that decodes to something like “we can buy your stock back at the grant price, even if it has vested, prior to any sale of the company.” Felix Salmon at Wired:
I no longer think that what Skype did here is pretty evil: I now think it’s downright evil, and destroys the balance of trust on which Silicon Valley has been built. What’s more, I simply don’t believe that Skype did all of this itself, without detailed input from Silver Lake. … I don’t know where they got these techniques from, but they’re very alien to Silicon Valley and indeed the rest of the business world. And they do no good at all for the reputation of private equity companies more generally.