October’s Largest Buybacks (PPG, OKE, CY, EBAY, WTW, EMC, KO, VAL, WAG, IRM, FDO, CVX)

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Despite the rise of the stock market, many companies are continuing to repurchase their shares in the open market.  Many investors prefer dividends over buybacks, but asking which is a better reward for shareholders depends solely upon whom you ask.  While these are not all of the buybacks throughout October, we have tracked some key buybacks from the likes of PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG), ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE), Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE: CY), eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW), EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO), Valspar Corporation (NYSE: VAL), Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG), Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE: FDO), and Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX).

We have offered color on each with applicable data on how each compares to size and volume, along with other statistical reference.

PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG) approved an additional 10 million shares of outstanding common stock, effective immediately and without an expiration.  Back in December 2009,  PPG authorized 5 million shares in a buyback and approximately 3.1 million shares of that plan are still available for repurchase.  Average volume here is 1.2 million shares and the market cap is $12.65 billion.  This is large in dollar terms, but not a massive game-changer on its float if it buys shares back at roughly the same rate it has.  At $76.60, the 52-week range is $55.89 to $77.95.

Natural gas distributor ONEOK Inc. (NYSE: OKE) has approved $750 million over a three year period.  The market cap here is $5.33 billion and with shares at $50.05 the 52-week trading range is $29.56 to $50.85.  This buyback is large in size and large in scope as the current share price would retire 14% of the stock based on today’s prices and the buyback represents over 22 days worth of trading volume.

Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE: CY) may have found an alternative to M&A.  After announcing a buyback plan of up to $600 million, the market cap today is only about $2.15 billion.  At $13.35, the 52-week trading range is $8.05 to $13.89.  This won’t happen overnight as the cash and equivalents on the books come in at about $279 million.

eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) rose after earnings, but the buyback and leveraging of the books may have contributed more than anything here along with $300 million spent buying back stock in the last quarter.  eBay said that the company authorized up to $2 billion for additional share buybacks.  It also authorized a commercial paper program of up to $1 billion and has approved the sale of up to $1.5 billion in term-debt financing under an existing shelf registration.

Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) approved a buyback plan of up to $250 million, which is a combination and add-on to a prior share buyback plan.  This represents 10% of the implied shares that could be bought back and at current prices it represents almost 29-days worth of volume.