REDEEMABLE PREFERRED STOCK
On October 1, 2015, the Company redeemed its Series A preferred stock with a par value of $1.00 per share and a liquidation preference of $1,000 per share. The 10,510 shares outstanding were redeemed at the redemption price of $1,000 per share for $10.5 million. Prior to redemption, dividends on the Series A preferred stock were payable four times a year at the annual rate of $80.00 per share and in preference to any dividends on the Company’s common stock. The Series A preferred stock was not convertible into any other security of the Company, and the holders thereof had no voting rights except with respect to any proposed changes in the preferences and special rights of such stock.
CAPITAL STOCK, STOCK AWARDS AND STOCK OPTIONS
Capital Stock. Each share of Class A common stock and Class B common stock participates equally in dividends. The Class B stock has limited voting rights and as a class has the right to elect 30% of the Board of Directors; the Class A stock has unlimited voting rights, including the right to elect a majority of the Board of Directors.
During 2017, 2016, and 2015 the Company purchased a total of 88,361, 229,498, and 46,226 shares, respectively, of its Class B common stock at a cost of approximately $50.8 million, $108.9 million, and $23.0 million, respectively. On November 9, 2017, the Board of Directors authorized the Company to acquire up to 500,000 shares of its Class B common stock. The Company did not announce a ceiling price or time limit for the purchases. The authorization included 163,237 shares that remained under the previous authorization. At December 31, 2017, the Company had remaining authorization from the Board of Directors to purchase up to 472,678 shares of Class B common stock.
Stock Awards. In 2012, the Company adopted an incentive compensation plan (the 2012 Plan), which, among other provisions, authorizes the awarding of Class B common stock to key employees in the form of stock awards, stock options and other awards involving the actual transfer of shares. All stock awards, stock options and other awards involving the actual transfer of shares issued subsequent to the adoption of this plan are covered under this incentive compensation plan. Stock awards made under the 2012 Plan are primarily subject to the general restriction that stock awarded to a participant will be forfeited and revert to Company ownership if the participant’s employment terminates before the end of a specified period of service to the Company. Some of the awards are also subject to performance conditions and will be forfeited and revert to Company ownership if the conditions are not met. As a result of the Cable ONE spin-off, the number of Class B common stock authorized for issuance under the 2012 Plan was increased from 500,000 shares to 772,588 shares. The individual award limit under the 2012 Plan was also increased from 50,000 shares to 77,258 shares per calendar year. At December 31, 2017, there were 589,483 shares reserved for issuance under the 2012 incentive compensation plan. Of this number, 157,506 shares were subject to stock awards and stock options outstanding, and 431,977 shares were available for future awards.
Activity related to stock awards under the 2012 incentive compensation plan for the year ended December 31, 2017 was as follows:
Number of Shares
Average Grant-Date Fair Value
Beginning of year, unvested
End of Year, Unvested
In connection with the spin-off of Cable ONE, the Company modified the terms of 10,830 restricted stock awards in the second quarter of 2015 affecting 21 Cable ONE employees. The modification resulted in the acceleration of the vesting period of 6,324 restricted stock awards and the forfeiture of 4,506 restricted stock awards. The Company recorded incremental stock compensation expense, net of forfeitures, in the second quarter of 2015 amounting to $3.7 million, which is reflected in discontinued operations in the Company’s consolidated financial statements. The spin-off also resulted in a modification of some of the Company’s outstanding restricted stock awards. The holders of restricted stock awards received Cable ONE restricted common stock, on a pro rata basis, as part of the distribution. The modification of the restricted stock awards resulted in an estimated incremental stock compensation expense of $3.0 million that is being recognized over the remaining service periods of the unvested restricted stock awards through the end of 2018.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Company also modified the terms of an additional 9,800 restricted stock awards affecting one now former employee. The modification resulted in the acceleration of the vesting period of 9,412 restricted stock awards and the forfeiture of 388 restricted stock awards. As a result, the Company recorded incremental stock compensation expense, net of forfeitures, of $6.0 million.