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Buyback



Definition

A buyback, also known as a share repurchase, is when a company purchases its own outstanding shares to reduce the number of shares available on the open market. Companies often do this to increase the value of remaining shares and to improve financial ratios. Essentially, a buyback boosts the company’s stock price, benefiting shareholders.

Phonetic

The phonetics of the word “Buyback” is /ˈbaɪ.bæk/

Key Takeaways

  1. Repurchasing Company Shares: Buyback is the process where a company repurchases its own shares from the existing shareholders at a specific price. The bought back shares are then extinguished, reducing the number of outstanding shares on the market.
  2. Influence on Market Capitalization and Earnings Per Share: Although a buyback changes a company’s market capitalization, it typically increases the value of the remaining shares, thus potentially increasing the earnings per share (EPS) which can lead to a higher stock price over time.
  3. Usage of Excess Cash: Companies often use buybacks as a way to return excess cash to shareholders, rather than paying out dividends. This method can be a more tax effective means of returning money to shareholders.

Importance

A buyback, also known as a share repurchase, is a significant financial activity in which a company purchases its own shares from the open market. This process is crucial as it indicates that the company believes its shares are undervalued, which often leads to an increase in their price, benefiting remaining shareholders. Through buybacks, companies can return surplus cash to shareholders, similar to dividends, while offering tax advantages in certain jurisdictions. Also, this practice helps in consolidating the ownership, increasing earnings per share, and potentially improving financial ratios. Moreover, it can offset the dilution of shares caused by employee share ownership plans. Despite its benefits, buybacks might also indicate a lack of profitable reinvestment opportunities for the company. Thus, understanding buybacks is vital for investors to make informed decisions.

Explanation

A buyback, also known as a share repurchase, is a strategic move undertaken by companies to purchase back their own shares from the marketplace. The primary aim of such an activity is to bolster the price of the stock and reduce the overall number of outstanding shares available in the market. Companies often choose to buy back shares when they have excess cash on hand, and believe that it might be an efficient way to reinvest in the company itself. By reducing the supply of shares, a buyback can increase earnings per share and, over time, raise the stock’s value.Another purpose for a buyback is to demonstrate the firm’s confidence in its own potential growth, thereby instilling a sense of confidence in shareholders and potential investors. It’s a tangible way to return money to investors without issuing dividends, which can be particularly useful if the company believes its shares are undervalued. It’s also utilized as a tool to offset the dilution that occurs whenever a company issues additional shares or when employees exercise their stock options. In this way, buybacks ensure the stability and enhance the perceived value of a company’s stock.

Examples

1. Apple Inc. Buyback: In 2018, Apple announced it was setting a new buyback record by dedicating $100 billion towards repurchasing their own shares from the open market. The company stated that this decision was a way to return capital to its investors.2. Microsoft Share Buyback: In September 2019, Microsoft announced a share buyback program worth up to $40 billion. The program’s aim was to reduce the amount of outstanding stock and hence increase the earnings per share, eventually leading to an increase in stock prices.3. Berkshire Hathaway Share Buyback: In 2020, Warren Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway spent more than $24 billion repurchasing his company’s own stock. This represented approximately 5% of the total outstanding shares. This happened after years of Buffett being hesitant about share buybacks, he finally decided to make this move when he judged the company’s stock to be undervalued.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a buyback?

A buyback, also known as share repurchase, is when a company chooses to repurchase its own stock from the marketplace. This reduces the number of outstanding shares.

Why would a company choose to do a buyback?

Companies choose to do a buyback to reinvest in themselves, show investors that the company believes its shares are undervalued, or to improve their financial ratios.

How does a buyback affect shareholders?

When a company buys back their own shares, the number of shares in circulation decreases. This typically increases the earnings per share and elevens the stock’s market value.

What happens to the shares that are bought back?

The shares that are bought back from the open market are generally absorbed by the company, and their worth is distributed among the remaining shares.

Are buybacks always a good sign for the company?

Not always. While buybacks can show strong financial health, it might also indicate a lack of growth opportunities for the company. Investors have to analyze the context in which a buyback is made.

Does a buyback affect the stock price?

Yes, buybacks often increase the stock’s price in the short term because the supply of stock is reduced, but this isn’t always the case in the long term.

How does a buyback compare to dividends?

Both buybacks and dividends return money to shareholders, but in different ways. Dividends distribute cash directly while buybacks increase the value of remaining shares. The choice between these also depends on their respective tax implications.

When can a company buy back shares?

A company can buy back shares anytime it has the required capital and it is in accordance with the company’s bylaws and local regulations.

Is there a limit to how much a company can buy back?

Yes, most jurisdictions have rules governing buybacks, including limits that a company can only buy back a certain proportion of their outstanding shares within a specified timeframe.

Can a company sell the shares again after a buyback?

Yes, a company can resell the shares again in the future if they choose to. This is often stored as treasury stock , available for selling to raise capital.

Related Finance Terms

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