Banking & Finance

Why This Massive Buyback Matters for H&R Block

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H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) reported first-quarter fiscal 2016 results after markets closed Tuesday. But the big news is that the company is no longer regulated as a savings and loan holding company, and H&R Block said it would repurchase a total of $3.5 billion in stock in a buyback program that does not end until June 2019. At the current market cap of $9.1 billion, the buyback will raise the value of the outstanding shares by 38% by the time the repurchase is completed.

The company also said it would launch a modified Dutch auction on Wednesday to repurchase up to $1.5 billion in common stock. H&R Block said that amounts to about 16% of the company’s current capitalization. The company said it expects the ongoing financial impact of the sale of its banking business to be dilutive by about $0.08 to $0.10 per share beginning in the 2016 fiscal year. H&R Block also expects to take one-time transaction and related charges of approximately $0.02 to $0.03 in the 2016 fiscal year.

The tax preparation company posted an adjusted diluted net loss of $0.35 on revenues of $138 million. In the same period a year ago, H&R Block reported a net loss of $0.40 on revenues of $134 million. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a net loss of $0.40 and $136 million in revenue.

The company’s CEO, Bill Cobb, said:

We are pleased that we have successfully closed the bank transaction and are committed to ensuring a smooth transition for our clients as we prepare for the upcoming tax season. Our teams are now fully focused on developing and executing a strategy that ensures an exceptional client service experience. We look forward to delivering another successful tax year for both our clients and our shareholders.

Under the modified Dutch auction tender offer, H&R Block will pay not less than $32.25 and not more than $37.00 per share providing a new committed line of credit that will replace its existing $1.5 billion committed line of credit.

H&R Block Tuesday closed the transaction that divested the company of its H&R Block Bank, selling certain assets and transferring certain liabilities along with a cash payment of $419 million to BofI Federal Bank to cover the carrying value of the liabilities as well as the deposit liabilities of H&R Block’s bank. The CEO said, “This closing is the final step in divesting our non-core assets and focusing our business back on what we do best, taxes.”

Shares closed Tuesday down 3.15% at $32.95, but have added more than 7% in the after-hours session to trade at $35.40 in a 52-week range of $27.42 to $36.29. The consensus price target for the shares is $40.38.

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