20 Fresh Stock Buybacks Could Send $100 Billion Back to Shareholders

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Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) currently is considered a potential merger candidate by some investors, but the company announced on December 14 that its board approved a $3 billion share repurchase authorization through the end of 2020. This larger buyback plan replaced Humana’s previous $2.25 billion plan, but Humana said that the prior plan had no further capacity. Humana has a $36 billion market cap.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) announced in the first week of December that it approved an additional $3 billion for stock buybacks. According to the company at the time, that represents about 17% of the outstanding shares. Maybe those bag fees and kicking low ticket price passengers off isn’t so bad after all, and the company said it expects to have completed its most recently authorized July 2016 $2 billion share repurchase program by the end of December 2017. The shares were last seen down about 12% so far in 2017.

PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG) announced on December 14 that its board approved the repurchase of $2.5 billion of outstanding common shares. The plan is effective immediately and does not come with an expiration date. On top of the new buyback, PPG said the new program in addition to its existing buyback plan from 2016, which still had approximately $1.4 billion remaining. PPG has a $29 billion market cap.

American Tower Corp. (NYSE: AMT) announced on December 7 that its board of directors approved the repurchase of up to $2 billion worth of common stock. American Tower currently has approximately $345 million remaining under its existing stock repurchase program, which was approved back in 2011. Its market cap is roughly $60 billion.

Kellogg Co. (NYSE: K) announced on December 15 that it will spend up to $1.5 billion in share buybacks over the course of 2018 and 2019. Its previous $1.5 billion authorization expires on December 31, 2017, and Kellogg has a $22.5 billion market cap.

Prudential Financial Inc. (NYSE: PRU) gave its 2018 guidance on December 14, and its board also included in its SEC filing that it has authorized the repurchase of up to $1.5 billion of its outstanding common shares during calendar 2018. Prudential has a market cap of almost $50 billion.

T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) announced on December 6 that its board has authorized a stock repurchase program for up to $1.5 billion of its common stock through December 31, 2018. While the number is impressive considering a $52 billion market cap, T-Mobile also included a note in its release that its majority shareholder (Deutsche Telekom) is also considering plans to purchase additional shares of T-Mobile. This means the buyback impact could be enhanced or magnified when it comes to actual shares being purchased.

Waste Management Inc. (NYSE: WM) announced on December 14 that it was increasing its dividend and that it was authorizing the repurchase of up to $1.25 billion of its common stock with an immediate effective date. Waste Management has a $37 billion market cap.

Dover Corp. (NYSE: DOV) announced on December that it would spin off its wellsite business into a public company of its own in 2018, but the company also announced that it sees spending $1 billion for common share repurchases in 2018. Dover’s market cap is roughly $15 billion.

Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) announced on December 7 that its board of directors had authorized a new share repurchase program of up to an additional $1 billion worth of its outstanding common shares. The company also announced that in November it entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement to acquire $150 million worth of its common stock, and earlier in the fourth quarter the company repurchased approximately $100 million of common stock. Edwards Lifesciences has a market cap of roughly $24 billion.

DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA) announced on December 6 that the company was selling its medical groups business unit to UnitedHealth for $4.9 billion. While the company plans to pay down debt and to make some diversifying acquisitions, DaVita also showed in its release that, on top of general corporate purposes, the proceeds from the transaction will be used for significant stock repurchases over the one to two years following the closing of the transaction. If we use a figure of at least 20% as being significant, then roughly $1 billion or more should be heading toward shareholders for buybacks. Its market cap is roughly $13 billion.

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On top of these major buyback plans covered here, a large number of companies have announced buyback plans under $1 billion. These may sound smaller in total dollars, but some of them can be impressive when considering the total market caps of these companies.