Masters hits $100 million on Liberty deal

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Lee Masters didn't become a billionaire, but his Liberty Digital compensation package has gotten him more than $100 million so far.

As initially reported by the Denver Post, SEC filings show that even though Liberty Digital's stock price has collapsed along with other Internet companies, CEO Masters recut his options deal with the company and collected $50 million in cash and as much as $90 million in Liberty stock.

Masters cut an unusually favorable deal when joining Liberty Digital two years ago, that at one point made his 15.2 million share, five-year options package worth more than $900 million when the company's stock price ran up from his $2.46 strike price to $70. Liberty Digital's price has crashed back to $3.

But when Masters recut his deal in February, the company was still on the hook for a guarantee that when Masters did start exercising his option, he would be protected from a drop in the stock price. Masters gave up that guarantee for the remainder of his term, but was paid out for what he was owed for 2000. SEC filings show that in exchange, his options now vest over four years, not five.

Masters was vacationing and couldn't be reached for comment. - John M. Higgins