Enterprise Management Initiative (EMI) Share Options

A year ago I was granted a number of Enterprise Management Incentive (EMI) share options by my employer. The options cannot be exercised until company performance conditions are met (which looks certain to
happen in the next year). However, there are a couple of grey areas that I would appreciate some unbiased advice on:
- My employer has implied that I must remain with the company to benefit, but is this actually the case? The options can be exercised up to ten years from the date of grant, so do I really need to stay with the company until then (or at least until the company achieves its specified performance conditions)? This is not stated anywhere in the written terms and conditions attached to my share options. According to the EMI guidance information on the HMG web site ( http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/shareschemes/emi-new-guidance.htm ), leaving the company would count as a disqualifying event and so would lose me the favourable income tax and CGT terms offered under the EMI scheme - but it also seems to imply that the share options would still be mine to exercise even if no longer an employee.
- An announcement has just been made that we may be taken over by a larger (possibly foreign) company. According to the EMI rules this will probably also be a disqualifying event, suggesting that all of us with EMI share options could be penalised. Does anyone know what typically happens in such circumstances?
TIA for your input - any advice or experience of EMI schemes would be much appreciated.
C
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