How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

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seeker24
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How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

I got a new job offer in a company. But the financial loss of leaving my current company mid-year is bothering me as none of my 401k, bonus or RSUs are vested. Even the relocation lumpsum is not vested completely as I've been in my current job for < 2 years.

The above non-base comp that I might be forfeiting if I leave the job now, is coming to say 90k (bonus + RSUs + non-vested 401k + relo lumpsum). The new company is flexible with the base increase just a bit. They have a standard new hire RSUs and regular bonus. But how do I ask them about the money I will be leaving on the table with the current company?

Are there companies that buy out 90k as a one time expense in sign-on bonus or increased RSUs or combination of both? I know tech or fintech companies do, but mine is not a tech company. I was planning to ask the recruiter, but checking to see how to phrase it so they consider it?

Thanks!
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by m@ver1ck »

You can ask them to make you whole.
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seeker24
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

m@ver1ck wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:26 am You can ask them to make you whole.
OK. Is it like - "Hey, I'll be forfeiting $xxxK if I leave now. What can you do to incorporate the loss?". Should it be prescriptive or leave the question open ended?
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Zombies »

Just ask - some companies do this, some companies don’t. Even some smaller companies will do it if they want you badly enough - or, they can say, “Sorry, can’t do that.”

Generally this takes the form of “I have a vesting event and a bonus being paid out Sept 1- if I leave now to join I’d be forfeiting $30k, could you pay this to make me whole? Otherwise could you accommodate a Sept 15 start?”

Most people won’t pay out unvested RSUs - some FAANG will but those aren’t real, stock prices could decline, etc. So normally when this works it’s just a time shift of definite money that’s in the very near future. I certainly wouldn’t try to get 401k match-type funds.

But like I said, just ask.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by vinhodoporto »

“I’ll be walking away from $90k at my old job. What can you do to help make me whole?”

This is very common especially for folks walking away from a bonus.

If you’re close to some of the $ vesting you can negotiate a later start date with less $ from the new company to make you whole.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by jharkin »

+1 It hurts nothing to ask, just don’t phrase it as an ultimatum.

When I last changed jobs I was approaching an annual RSU vest date. I told them I would leave XX$ on the table and asked if they could match it or delay my start date 30 days to pass the vesting. They gave me the 30 days.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

This may be best brought up immediately when the new offer is made … May be too late for that.


With some networking you may be able to figure out what the new employer is likely to say to making you whole … you also may have a feel for how bad they want you … how did you end up hearing about and applying for this job? Did they approach you or did you approach them? Some employers might be thinking that the fact you will lose all that was known by you going into this job hunt if you approached them so why bring it up now. On the other hand why not ask.

I’d try to decide how bad I really wanted the new job and what effect negotiating this large sum will have on my new employers view of me before I asked. Sometimes this is hard to predict.

Good luck - let us know what you decide.
Last edited by Parkinglotracer on Sun Jul 03, 2022 7:40 am, edited 2 times in total.
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8foot7
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by 8foot7 »

Asking once is fine. For 90k asking twice is a red flag. Take no for an answer. As a hiring manager, I’d understand if you didn’t accept my offer because of this.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by CletusCaddy »

What exactly is your new offer in both base and RSUs and what is your current compensation in both base and RSUs vesting over next 12 months at current stock price?
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

It depends on the company and sometimes they will do things differently if you have to pay now vs a loss of earning something later.

Such as a bonus to cover paying back something to the old company.

But loss of RSU might be a new long term retention incentive payable at 3 years (even if the rsu would have been sooner)
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by squirrel1963 »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:43 am
m@ver1ck wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:26 am You can ask them to make you whole.
OK. Is it like - "Hey, I'll be forfeiting $xxxK if I leave now. What can you do to incorporate the loss?". Should it be prescriptive or leave the question open ended?
Yes, that is what I would do -- the worst the can say is no, then it's up to you to decide whether to take it or not. I'd leave the question open ended as they have many ways to make you whole (so maybe they'll give you 90k split in two years or four).
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

IME, in large banks (this will vary by industry), they will swap unvested old RSUs for unvested RSUs in the new company as of the hire date. A proof of forfeiture will be required.

If the bonus in the new company is roughly equal to the old company bonus or greater and on a roughly comparable timeline, nothing is usually done to equalize your “unvested bonus,” as the theory is that the work you’ve put in at the old company will be bonused by the new company.

IME, companies don’t do anything to equalize 401(k)s and the like. Too much in the weeds for them to calculate.

The goal is to make it possible to hire talent even after the golden window (ie, right after your bonus and RSU vesting) by making you whole. Otherwise, nobody would apply for a position after March or April.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by carne_asada »

No harm in asking. They won't be able to equalize your 401 as a 401K amount with the new company but they can certainly up your signing bonus by whatever $ you are leaving on the table in the unvested 401K.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

Recently hired someone who negotiated well.

Along the lines of:
I will be at this company for many years, just want a competitive base of 235-270. Had a great experience interviewing with the team, etc.

We upped our offer from 200 to 225 + 10k sign on. Top of our range, candidate did well negotiating and knew the parameters to push for. RSU amount is significant, but non negotiable at our company (based on level hired in at). Annual bonus is based on company and individual performance.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Spiderv6 »

Depends on the industry and depends on your level.

For me, I would insist on being kept whole with unvested bonuses/options etc, a sign-on bonus and of course increased base, bonus etc.

Sounds like a lot? Absolutely, but you only have few of these chances in your career to make big changes to your comp structure and you need to maximize them. You are also taking a significant risk with this (any) move. It may not work out and you may end up with no job. Economic impact on you is huge and on the company it is likely a mere annoyance.

If they can’t make it work, walk.

I do take a somewhat mercenary approach with these situations - I go to work to make money first and foremost, so ensuring you maximize that scenario is critical for me.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Mel Lindauer »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:43 am
m@ver1ck wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:26 am You can ask them to make you whole.
OK. Is it like - "Hey, I'll be forfeiting $xxxK if I leave now. What can you do to incorporate the loss?". Should it be prescriptive or leave the question open ended?
FWIW, I'd definitely recommending dropping the "Hey" from your request.
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seeker24
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

Thank you all!

All great suggestions. At a minimum all I could do right now is to ask. And listen to what they have to say.

I do see myself staying long term in new company. But with the current offer and non base comp not vested, it's going to be a pay cut for the first year or so. I will think and decide. Thank you.
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seeker24
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

Mel Lindauer wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:07 pm
seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:43 am
m@ver1ck wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:26 am You can ask them to make you whole.
OK. Is it like - "Hey, I'll be forfeiting $xxxK if I leave now. What can you do to incorporate the loss?". Should it be prescriptive or leave the question open ended?
FWIW, I'd definitely recommending dropping the "Hey" from your request.
Absolutely!!!
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seeker24
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:15 pm Recently hired someone who negotiated well.

Along the lines of:
I will be at this company for many years, just want a competitive base of 235-270. Had a great experience interviewing with the team, etc.

We upped our offer from 200 to 225 + 10k sign on. Top of our range, candidate did well negotiating and knew the parameters to push for. RSU amount is significant, but non negotiable at our company (based on level hired in at). Annual bonus is based on company and individual performance.
This is a good example. What parameters did the candidate pushed for? I can think about my experience, advanced degree PhD, prof certification, consistency etc. besides doing well in interview.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by jackholloway »

I would add a bit more. After "I am walking away from 90K this year, XX next year, what can you do?", include your RSU vest schedule as an attachment. That gives the hiring manager proof that you are not exaggerating, and makes it easier in many cases to get a match.

They may well say "you cannot compare the upside potential of a stable job's RSUs to a startups equity", or some such, but that seems like a fair trade.

I would not keep hammering on it, and I would only put an ultimatum if you actually have one. If you need 50x, then don't put an ultimatum for 90, but maybe let them know that you do need more than what is there.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

Good point.

Would companies ask for any sort of proof in these cases? New job is not a big tech company but a small growth company.

Although I have proof, I would like to know dos and donts of revealing any such information about either RSUs or bonus vesting or competing base offers to the new company.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by michaelscott »

I would also consider trying to use this angle to leverage additional perks in other areas. Are there flexibility concessions that might help you out? Remote work or similar? If they can’t fully make you whole, but you’d like to take the role anyway based on long term goals or other factors, then perhaps some of these non-cash factors can come into play. Another example is title. If that is something that is important to you, it can often be negotiated.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:26 pm
Wannaretireearly wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 2:15 pm Recently hired someone who negotiated well.

Along the lines of:
I will be at this company for many years, just want a competitive base of 235-270. Had a great experience interviewing with the team, etc.

We upped our offer from 200 to 225 + 10k sign on. Top of our range, candidate did well negotiating and knew the parameters to push for. RSU amount is significant, but non negotiable at our company (based on level hired in at). Annual bonus is based on company and individual performance.
This is a good example. What parameters did the candidate pushed for? I can think about my experience, advanced degree PhD, prof certification, consistency etc. besides doing well in interview.
Candidate has a top/in demand tech skill. Very in demand…
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:57 pm Good point.

Would companies ask for any sort of proof in these cases? New job is not a big tech company but a small growth company.

Although I have proof, I would like to know dos and donts of revealing any such information about either RSUs or bonus vesting or competing base offers to the new company.
My experience is with large companies, but I can’t imagine anyone regardless of size replacing “lost” money without wanting proof that it was, in fact, lost. In our business, it was called “Confirmation of Forfeiture” and was provided after the notice period.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Afty »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:57 pm Good point.

Would companies ask for any sort of proof in these cases? New job is not a big tech company but a small growth company.

Although I have proof, I would like to know dos and donts of revealing any such information about either RSUs or bonus vesting or competing base offers to the new company.
I think the main downside of giving proof is that the company you are negotiating with now knows exactly what you currently make. That puts a ceiling on their counteroffer. If they’re already well below your current comp, I don’t think there is much downside.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Afty wrote: Mon Jul 04, 2022 10:44 am
seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:57 pm Good point.

Would companies ask for any sort of proof in these cases? New job is not a big tech company but a small growth company.

Although I have proof, I would like to know dos and donts of revealing any such information about either RSUs or bonus vesting or competing base offers to the new company.
I think the main downside of giving proof is that the company you are negotiating with now knows exactly what you currently make. That puts a ceiling on their counteroffer. If they’re already well below your current comp, I don’t think there is much downside.
I don’t know if it’s national or regional, but employers around us don’t want to know because it might lead to legal issues. They’re not allowed to ask about current compensation, so knowing isn’t helpful even if you offer the information.

Otoh, getting proof of forfeited compensation is legal and customary.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by ClevrChico »

You can ask, but I'd be surprised if they will increase the hiring bonus by $90k outside of an exec position. I wouldn't accept such a position for a $90k haircut if they say no.

Recruiters and HR have been flamboozled when asked anything above 10% of an offer. One lost their mind for an increase of vacation to match my current position. "How can someone even take so much vacation?" (Almost every European knows how.)
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by NewMoneyMustBeSmart »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:20 am Are there companies that buy out 90k as a one time expense in sign-on bonus or increased RSUs or combination of both?
In Silicon Valley tech, this is not rare for senior people.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by Gnick »

I recently took a job where I took a haircut in year 1. I explained the loss to the new company and also reiterated that I really wanted to make the move and the position/company was more in line with my career aspirations than my current role. They met me more than halfway on the haircut. I don't think they would have if I just asked for more money.

however, in year 2 I will be in a much better position to make much more money. On top of that, there is a lot of opportunity for career growth which offers even more financial incentives.

It seems like you're just looking at this year. if you don't really want to make the switch, then why consider it?
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by seeker24 »

Gnick wrote: Tue Jul 05, 2022 8:24 am I recently took a job where I took a haircut in year 1. I explained the loss to the new company and also reiterated that I really wanted to make the move and the position/company was more in line with my career aspirations than my current role. They met me more than halfway on the haircut. I don't think they would have if I just asked for more money.

however, in year 2 I will be in a much better position to make much more money. On top of that, there is a lot of opportunity for career growth which offers even more financial incentives.

It seems like you're just looking at this year. if you don't really want to make the switch, then why consider it?
Didn't know the code here is - 'haircut' :)

Guess I am in the same position. I am OK to take the cut a bit in year 1. Since I haven't done this before, I was curious how much is too much. Even if they come half way, that's a win. If not, then let me think over and decide. I do know that I can expect good career trajectory even if I take a hit in year 1.

I will ask and find out and be the data point here. If it works out, great! If not, then decide what's best.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by NewMoneyMustBeSmart »

Gnick wrote: Tue Jul 05, 2022 8:24 am I explained the loss to the new company and also reiterated that I really wanted to make the move and the position/company was more in line with my career aspirations than my current role. They met me more than halfway on the haircut. I don't think they would have if I just asked for more money.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by ArchibaldGraham »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 04, 2022 6:44 am
seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:57 pm Good point.

Would companies ask for any sort of proof in these cases? New job is not a big tech company but a small growth company.

Although I have proof, I would like to know dos and donts of revealing any such information about either RSUs or bonus vesting or competing base offers to the new company.
My experience is with large companies, but I can’t imagine anyone regardless of size replacing “lost” money without wanting proof that it was, in fact, lost. In our business, it was called “Confirmation of Forfeiture” and was provided after the notice period.
I have never seen a request for documentation as described here. While I don't doubt it can happen I don't think it is customary in many industries/companies. That said, if the amount you are asking for is out of line w/ reality they may call your bluff or simply state that they aren't able to accommodate. And if the new offer is not fair then perhaps you should stay put or go with other options.

There is no harm in asking to be made whole on lost comp - everyone will understand if the ask is reasonable and you approach the situation tactfully. Most likely they will meet you at least halfway if they really want you, the ask you are making is reasonable, and you ask tactfully.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

ArchibaldGraham wrote: Sat Jul 09, 2022 7:22 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Mon Jul 04, 2022 6:44 am
seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 4:57 pm Good point.

Would companies ask for any sort of proof in these cases? New job is not a big tech company but a small growth company.

Although I have proof, I would like to know dos and donts of revealing any such information about either RSUs or bonus vesting or competing base offers to the new company.
My experience is with large companies, but I can’t imagine anyone regardless of size replacing “lost” money without wanting proof that it was, in fact, lost. In our business, it was called “Confirmation of Forfeiture” and was provided after the notice period.
I have never seen a request for documentation as described here. While I don't doubt it can happen I don't think it is customary in many industries/companies. That said, if the amount you are asking for is out of line w/ reality they may call your bluff or simply state that they aren't able to accommodate. And if the new offer is not fair then perhaps you should stay put or go with other options.

There is no harm in asking to be made whole on lost comp - everyone will understand if the ask is reasonable and you approach the situation tactfully. Most likely they will meet you at least halfway if they really want you, the ask you are making is reasonable, and you ask tactfully.
I can promise you that at megabanks, where the amount is often 7 digits, it is customary. Other industries, who knows? Note that the documentation is not required, or even available, until after the employee has begun employment at the new employer. As far as a "bluff" goes, at megabanks, misrepresentation of finances, including forfeiture, is grounds for not only dismissal but probably for being unable to work in the industry going forward.

A quote I honestly heard once said by someone high up in HR: "if he'd murdered his grandmother, that would be okay, but lying about stealing a pack of cigarettes, we have to fire him."
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by JoeRetire »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:43 am
m@ver1ck wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:26 am You can ask them to make you whole.
OK. Is it like - "Hey, I'll be forfeiting $xxxK if I leave now. What can you do to incorporate the loss?". Should it be prescriptive or leave the question open ended?
You can always ask.
Just remember, your lack of "whole-ness" doesn't make you more valuable to your employer.

What are you gaining financially by accepting the offer? Higher salary? Anything else?
Last edited by JoeRetire on Sat Jul 09, 2022 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by JoeRetire »

seeker24 wrote: Sun Jul 03, 2022 12:20 am I got a new job offer in a company. But the financial loss of leaving my current company mid-year is bothering me as none of my 401k, bonus or RSUs are vested. Even the relocation lumpsum is not vested completely as I've been in my current job for < 2 years.
Did this come as a surprise?
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Re: How much is too much when negotiating comp in new job offer?

Post by simas »

seeker24 wrote: Tue Jul 05, 2022 12:15 pm
Gnick wrote: Tue Jul 05, 2022 8:24 am I recently took a job where I took a haircut in year 1. I explained the loss to the new company and also reiterated that I really wanted to make the move and the position/company was more in line with my career aspirations than my current role. They met me more than halfway on the haircut. I don't think they would have if I just asked for more money.

however, in year 2 I will be in a much better position to make much more money. On top of that, there is a lot of opportunity for career growth which offers even more financial incentives.

It seems like you're just looking at this year. if you don't really want to make the switch, then why consider it?
Didn't know the code here is - 'haircut' :)

Guess I am in the same position. I am OK to take the cut a bit in year 1. Since I haven't done this before, I was curious how much is too much. Even if they come half way, that's a win. If not, then let me think over and decide. I do know that I can expect good career trajectory even if I take a hit in year 1.

I will ask and find out and be the data point here. If it works out, great! If not, then decide what's best.
great, hopefully it would work out for you (whichever way you want). As a hiring manager, you either do want to move (for whatever reasons) or you don't want to move (similarly for whatever reasons). The underlying self rationalizations matter little.

in terms of 'making whole' - what i have seen typically in my field is time delayed signing bonus (3 months, 6 months ,etc). if you are not what we are looking for, we part ways and you go on to your next adventure without this money that you somehow feel entitled to. if you are what we are looking for then in overall scheme of things this is small potatoes. 'Do or do not, there is no try'.
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