Stock Buybacks: Benefits of Share Repurchases

A company can return wealth to its shareholders in several ways. Although stock price appreciation and dividends are the two most common ways, there are other ways for companies to share their wealth with investors. In this article, we will focus on one of these little-known methods: share buybacks or redeem. We will go through the mechanics of a sharing redeem and what it means for investors.

Key points to remember

  • A stock buyback occurs when a company buys back its shares in the market.
  • The effect of a buyout is to reduce the number of shares outstanding in the market, which increases shareholder participation.
  • A company may buy back shares because it believes the market has discounted its shares too much, to invest in itself or to improve its financial ratios.

What is a share buyback?

A stock buyback, also known as a stock buyback, occurs when a company buys back its shares in the market with its accumulated cash. A stock buyback is a way for a company to reinvest in itself. The redeemed shares are absorbed by the company and the number of outstanding shares on the market is reduced. Because there are fewer stocks in the market, each investor’s relative stake increases.

How does a “repurchase” work?

There are two ways for companies to conduct a takeover: a takeover bid or through the open market.

1. Takeover bid

The shareholders of the company receive a take-over bid which asks them to tender, or offer, some or all of their shares within a certain time limit. The offer will state the number of shares the company wishes to repurchase and a price range for the shares. Investors who accept the offer will indicate the number of shares they wish to offer as well as the price they are willing to accept. Once the company has received all the offers, it will find the right combination to buy the shares at the lowest cost.

The market generally perceives a buyback as a positive indicator for a company, and the stock price often skyrockets after a buyback.

2. Open market

A company can also buy its shares on the open market at the market price. However, it often happens that the announcement of a takeover leads to the the share price soars because the market perceives it as a positive signal.

The reasons

Why do companies buy back shares? A company’s management is likely to say that a buyout is the best use of Capital city at this very moment. After all, the goal of a company’s management is to maximize shareholder return, and a buyout typically increases shareholder value. The prototypical line in a redemption Press release is “we see no better investment than in ourselves.” Although this may sometimes be the case, this statement is not always true.

There are others sound patterns that push companies to buy back shares. For example, management may feel that the market has discounted its stock price too much. The price of a stock can be shaken by the market for many reasons, such as weaker than expected financial results, an accounting scandal or simply a bad general economic climate. . So when a company spends millions of dollars to buy back its own stock, it may be a sign that management feels the market has gone too far in delivery stocks, a positive sign.

Improve financial ratios

Another reason a company might take over is purely to improve its financial ratios – the metric used by investors to analyze the value of a company. This motivation is questionable. If reducing the number of shares is a strategy to improve financial ratios and not to create more shareholder value, there could be a problem with management. However, if a company’s motive for initiating a buyout is valid, better financial ratios as a result could simply be a byproduct of good corporate decision-making. Let’s see how this happens.

First, share buybacks reduce the number of shares outstanding. Once a company buys its shares, it often cancels them or keeps them as treasury shares and reduced the number of outstanding shares in the process.

In addition, redemptions reduce balance sheet assets, in this case, in cash. Therefore, return on assets (ROA) increases because assets are reduced; return on equity (ROE) increases because there is less outstanding equity.In general, the market sees higher ROA and ROE as positives.

Suppose a company buys back one million shares at $15 per share for a total cash outflow of $15 million. Below are the components of the ROA and earnings per share (EPS) calculations and how they change following redemption.

Before Redemption After redemption
Cash $20,000,000 $5,000,000
Assets $50,000,000 $35,000,000
Earnings $2,000,000 $2,000,000
Outstanding shares 10,000,000 9,000,000
LONG 4.00% 5.71%
Earnings per share $0.20 $0.22

As you can see, the company Treasury was reduced from $20 million to $5 million. Because money is an asset, this will reduce the company’s total assets from $50 million to $35 million. This increases ROA, even though revenue has not changed. Prior to the takeover, the company’s ROA was 4% ($2m/$50m). After buyout, ROA increases to 5.71% ($2m/$35m). A similar effect can be seen for EPS, which fell from 20 cents ($2 million/10 million shares) to 22 cents ($2 million/9 million shares).

The takeover also improves the company price/earnings ratio (P/E). The P/E ratio is one of the most well-known and widely used measures of value. At the risk of oversimplifying, the market often thinks that a lower price/earnings ratio is better. Therefore, if we assume the stock remains at $15, the pre-buyback P/E ratio is 75 ($15/20 cents). After the buyback, the P/E decreases to 68 ($15/22 cents) due to the reduction in shares outstanding. In other words, fewer shares + same earnings = higher EPS, which leads to better P/E.

Using the P/E ratio as a measure of value, the company is now cheaper per dollar of earnings than it was before the takeover despite there being no change in earnings .


Another reason a company may go ahead with a buyout is to reduce the dilution which is often caused by generous employee stock option plans (ESOP).

Bull markets and strong economies often create a very competitive environment laboratory market. Businesses have to compete with each other to retain staff, and ESOPs include a lot of compensation. Stock options have the opposite effect of stock buybacks in that they increase the number of shares outstanding when the options are exercised. As in the example above, a change in the number of shares outstanding can affect key financial metrics such as EPS and P/E. In the event of dilution, a change in the number of shares in circulation has the opposite effect of a takeover: it weakens the financial appearance of the company.

If we assume that the company’s shares rose by one million, EPS would have fallen to 18 cents per share from 20 cents per share. After years of lucrative stock option programs, a company may decide to repurchase stock to avoid or eliminate excessive dilution.

Tax benefit

In many ways, a buyout is similar to a dividend, as the company distributes cash to shareholders, albeit in an alternate manner. Traditionally, one of the main advantages of redemptions over dividends was that they were taxed at the lower rate. capital gains tax rate. Dividends, on the other hand, are taxed at the ordinary rate income tax rates once received. Tax rates and their effects generally change each year; thus, investors consider the annual tax rate on capital gains versus dividends as ordinary income when considering the benefits.


The excise tax that would be levied on the value of stock buybacks under a rule that Senate Democrats have proposed as part of their tax and climate bill, the inflation.

The essential

Are stock buybacks good or bad? As is often the case in finance, the question may not have a definitive answer. Buybacks reduce the number of shares outstanding and the total assets of a company, which can affect the company and its investors in different ways. When looking at key ratios such as earnings per share and P/E, a decline in shares increases EPS and lowers P/E for more attractive value. Ratios, such as ROA and ROE, improve as the denominator decreases, creating increased return.

In the public market, a buyout will always increase the value of the stock to the benefit of shareholders. However, investors should consider whether a company is simply using buybacks to prop up ratios, provide short-term relief to a struggling stock price, or to extricate itself from excessive dilution.

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