Investing

The 25 Companies Spending Billions On Buybacks (ACE, AKAM, ABC, AOL, AVT, CBOE, CHTR, CSCO, COV, DISCA, DLB, XOM, CVX, HRS, HUN, JASO, JAH, NWSA, RDC, LUV, STJ, BSX, MSI, V, HPQ)

1. Ace Ltd. (NYSE: ACE) decided that enough apparently isn’t enough… With what was about $400 million spent under its prior $600 million share buyback plan, the company’s board of directors approved another $300 million.  This one is higher on the day by 3% to $61.30, but investors do need to consider that Ace has a market cap north of $20 billion today.

2. Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) is just not a company most investors would think of as a buyback player.  It is media delivery and is a cloud player but shares have been beaten worse than the proverbial red-headed step child.  This week the company approved a $250 million increase in a current buyback program.  This raises the total to $400 million for the twelve-month period ending in early May 2012.  For conjecture, that compares to a market cap of $4.1 billion and the $22.00 share price compares to a 52-week trading range of $20.70 to $54.65.

3. AmerisourceBergen Corporation (NYSE: ABC) is trading higher after the company authorized a new $750 million share repurchase program.  What is interesting is that the company completed its previous buyback plan of $500 million that has been in place just since 2010.  The market cap of this pharmaceutical services company is currently about $9.9 billion and the $36.50 price compares to a 52-week range of $27.09 to $42.50.

4. AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) was smashed this week after its earnings report despite some improving metrics.  After shares hit a 52-week low of $10.06 (down almost 60% from highs), the company decided that enough is enough and AOL has announced that it will buy back up to $250 million worth of its shares.  Even after a 16% rise to $11.87, the market cap here is $1.27 billion.

5. Avnet Inc. (NYSE: AVT) is considered a DRAM, flash, and broad memory super-market for the world as it distributes memory from other makers all over the world.  Earnings were mixed this week, but shares have risen because of a buyback announcement of up to $500 million.  Even after shares have risen to almost $27.00 after trading under $24.00, its market cap is only $4.1 billion.  Another hell of a buyback.

6. CBOE Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) announced a $100 million share buyback earlier this month.  At $23.00, the market cap is $2.05 billion and the 52-week range is $19.60 to $29.70.  This one was expensive but has become more reasonable now and its business has undoubtedly seen an explosion of trading volumes in the market malaise this month.

7. Charter Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) is a shocking buyback and frankly it is puzzling when you consider that the company is still leveraged after emerging back from bankruptcy protection.  The cable provider approved a plan this week of up to $200 million versus what is a $4.9 billion market cap.  At $44.90, the 52-week range is $31,36 to $61.15.

8. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) has been an unsuccessful buyback leader.  Its shares are under the average buyback prices but it announced Wednesday evening with its earnings that it had spent about $1.5 billion in the last quarter alone to buy back 95 million shares at an average of $15.85 per share.  The company still has more than $10 billion in approved share buybacks.  Too bad this is a buyback that has not worked.

9. Covidien plc (NYSE: COV), a medical devices outfit, is seeing a 6% surge to $47.45 against a 52-week trading range of $35.12 to $57.65.  Thursday morning came news that the company approved a plan to repurchase up to $2 billion in ordinary shares from time to time and based upon market conditions.  Its market cap is over $23 billion, but this is a substantial size.

10 . Discovery Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) approved a new $1 billion share buyback plan early in the month and its market cap is $15 billion.  At $37.41, its 52-week trading range is $34.75 to $45.81.

11. Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: DLB) announced earlier in the month that it has added an additional $250 million for its stock repurchase program.  This gives a total of $392.5 million that can now be repurchased under the new and existing combined plan.  At $32.25, the 52-week range is $28.89 to $69.69 and the market cap is about $3.6 billion.