November Share Buybacks Already Nearing $30 Billion (ALL, AIG, CBS, FIS, PFE, RAI, SBUX, SYY, TMO, VIA, VRX, PKW)

November 16, 2011 by Jon C. Ogg

Some companies just want to keep bringing on new share buybacks whether they work or not.  Some are to stop dilution from acquisitions or employee stock options, while others are to reduce the float and to boost earnings per share.  Many investors (and companies) consider buybacks an alternative (or replacement) to dividends.

We have tracked only the large buyback announcements made this month in the following companies: The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL); American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG); CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS); Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (NYSE: FIS); Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE); Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI); Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX); Sysco Corporation (NYSE: SYY); Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (NYSE: TMO); Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA-B); and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX).

As far as how share buybacks in general matter for stocks, you can always play the buyback leaders via the PowerShares Buyback Achievers (NYSE: PKW), and it is almost exactly in the middle of its 52-week trading range.  Those buybacks outlined below do not include the many $150 million, $100 million, and lower buybacks.  The tally all said and done here so far in just the first half of November of 2011: over $27 billion!!!

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is trying to tell shareholders they are in good hands because the announcement over the next 18 months is that it would repurchase up to $1 billion in common stock.  The market cap today is just over $13 billion.

How can American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) have a share buyback program?  It announced in early November that it would buy back up to $1 billion in stock.  The $43 billion in market cap is one thing, but the amount of shares still owned by Uncle Sam (or taxpayers) is huge.  Actually, maybe this supports the stock value for us all!

CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) added to its prior plan and has authorized the repurchase of up to $1.5 billion in stock.  The current market cap is $16.5 billion, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide if this buyout matters or not.

Fidelity National Information Services, Inc. (NYSE: FIS) announced on November 1 that it was approving for up to $500 million in share buybacks over the next two years.  This compares to $7.4 billion in market capitalization.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) recently expanded its buyback program and it is now authorized to repurchase up to $7 billion worth of common stock.  This is a huge amount but it sounds small when you consider a $151 billion market cap.

Reynolds American Inc. (NYSE: RAI) this week announced a $2.5 billion share buyback plan which is good for the next two and a half years.  This is more than 10% of the company’s stock as the market cap is $23 billion.  Institutions own 46% of Reynolds.

Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) recently added to its prior buyback plan with up to 20 million shares. This is more than $850 million at current prices, which compares to a market cap of $32.5 billion.

Sysco Corporation (NYSE: SYY) recently boosted its dividend but it also announced that it would repurchase up to 20 million shares of common stock.  This represents about $550 million today and its market cap is just over $16 billion.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (NYSE: TMO) recently added $750 million to its prior buyback plan and its market capitalization is $18.5 billion.  The company had only $25 million remaining under a prior buyback and the new buyback is over the course of a year because it expires on November 9, 2012.

Viacom, Inc. (NYSE: VIA-B) must want to try to take itself private.  The market cap is just under $25 billion, but the company recently announced with its positive earnings report that it is expanding its buyback to $10 billion.  While this was an expansion of a prior plan, $10 billion is a massive sum.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX) is a bit odd.  While it announced that it would spend up to $1.5 billion repurchasing securities, this was listed as a buyback of stock and/or debt.  Its market cap is $13.25 billion today.

Company $ (Millions)
Allstate $1,000
AIG $1,000
CBS $1,500
FNIS $500
Pfizer $7,000
Reynolds $2,500
Starbucks $850
Sysco $550
Thermo Fisher $750
Viacom $10,000
Valeant $1,500
November’s Tally $27,150