As expected, the European Union Commission has mandated that European-listed companies expense stock options. The law, which must be applied retroactively from Jan. 1, 2005, applies to roughly 8,000 companies. Late last year, the E.U. lobbied hard for the expensing rule, but in order for it to be enacted into law it had to be approved by the European Parliament. In the U.S., companies must begin expensing stock options from June 15. Much like in the U.S., where options expensing was met with a flurry of lobbying activity -- especially from the technology sector -- many of Europe's biggest conglomerates had attempted to delay the expensing rule until it became effective in the U.S.

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