Share Repurchase

The act of a firm purchasing its own shares

Author: Rohan Arora
Rohan Arora
Rohan Arora
Investment Banking | Private Equity

Mr. Arora is an experienced private equity investment professional, with experience working across multiple markets. Rohan has a focus in particular on consumer and business services transactions and operational growth. Rohan has also worked at Evercore, where he also spent time in private equity advisory.

Rohan holds a BA (Hons., Scholar) in Economics and Management from Oxford University.

Reviewed By: Matthew Retzloff
Matthew Retzloff
Matthew Retzloff
Investment Banking | Corporate Development

Matthew started his finance career working as an investment banking analyst for Falcon Capital Partners, a healthcare IT boutique, before moving on to work for Raymond James Financial, Inc in their specialty finance coverage group in Atlanta. Matthew then started in a role in corporate development at Babcock & Wilcox before moving to a corporate development associate role with Caesars Entertainment Corporation where he currently is. Matthew provides support to Caesars' M&A processes including evaluating inbound teasers/CIMs to identify possible acquisition targets, due diligence, constructing financial models, corporate valuation, and interacting with potential acquisition targets.

Matthew has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in German from University of North Carolina.

Last Updated:November 26, 2023

What is a Share Repurchase?

Share Repurchase, also known as share buyback, is the act of a company buying its own stocks. Unlike dividends, which involve distributing cash to shareholders, share repurchase is a more flexible approach. It occurs when a company purchases its own shares from investors on the secondary market who are willing to sell.

Shareholders are not obligated to sell their securities back to the firm, and a stock buyback is accessible to all holders, not just a certain group. This move decreases the number of shares in circulation. Because of this move, investors frequently believe that buybacks will cause the share price to rise, though it is not always necessary for the prices to rise; there is always a risk of the value of the equities plunging after the repurchase occurs.

The significant reasons why the company would consider buying back its own shares are primarily to increase the price of the stock. The board could believe that the moment is right to acquire the company's equity since they are currently undervalued. In the meantime, investors may see this action symbolizing the management expressing confidence.

For companies that give stock options to employees to keep them, the equities that are eventually exercised will increase the total number of shares the firm has outstanding, diluting current shareholders. Buybacks are one method to counteract this impact and keep proficient employees themselves as an asset to the company.

Rising share prices are not taxed, but dividend payments are taxed as income. Naturally, shareholders who sell their shares back to the corporation may have to pay capital gains taxes, but those who choose not to do so benefit from a higher share price and no further fees.

Share buybacks are one-time events, making them considerably more adaptable management instruments, while on the flip side, any company that pays out a dividend or raises an existing payout will have to do so over an extended period. This is because if they decrease or remove the dividend moving ahead, they run the risk of decreasing share prices and disgruntled investors. 

Key Takeaways

  • Companies buying their own stocks, known as share repurchase or buyback, offers flexibility compared with dividends for returning excess cash to shareholders.

  • Share repurchase involves purchasing stocks from the secondary market, reducing shares, and potentially increasing share prices.

  • Buybacks aim to boost stock prices, counteract dilution from stock options, and provide tax advantages over dividends.

  • Companies choose methods like open market, fixed price tender, accelerated share repurchase, or Dutch auction for share repurchases.

  • The buyback ratio evaluates cash spent on repurchases to market cap, influencing financial indicators and indirectly benefiting shareholders through increased stock value.

Ways of Repurchasing

Following the buyback, the shares are referred to as treasury stock or canceled and are no longer subject to dividends or voting rights. Effectively, the number of outstanding equities is decreased by the number of shares.

Organizations usually retrieve their stakes using multiple different ways popular in the market. But there are essentially four methods a company chooses for the buyback. These include the following: 

1. Open Market

  • This is the most often used strategy because it gives the corporation the most flexibility of the four, making it the most popular one. The technique can also be highly economical if the timing of the share retrieval reduces price impact while utilizing share price undervaluation.
  • Depending on market circumstances, a company may occasionally declare that it would repossess certain shares on the open market. It has the right to decide when, when, and how much to retrieve. Months or even years may pass between open-market buybacks. 

2. Fixed Price Tender 

  • With this technique, a business makes a tender offer to buy back a predetermined number of its shares at a price often higher than the current market price.
  •  A corporation may buy back shares on a pro-rata basis when the number of shares it seeks is fewer than the number of shares that shareholders are ready to sell. It may be able to finish the share repurchasing program quickly by fixing the offer's expiration date.

3. Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR)

  • A company's publicly traded equity shares are retrieved in significant quantities as part of the ASR strategy. Companies entrust the transaction to specialist investment banks.
  • A typical ASR deal involves the firm delivering the cash up front to the investment bank and, while complying with requirements, entering into a forward contract to have its shares transferred at a specific future date. 
  • The bank then lends the firm shares, receives them back from the company, and returns them. 

4. Dutch Auction 

  • In a Dutch auction, a corporation specifies a range of prices that would accept by shareholders for its tender offer. 
  • It enables a corporation to determine the lowest price at which it may repurchase the appropriate number of shares from its owners. It then pays this sum to all successful bidders. 
  • In contrast to a fixed price tender offer, the corporation does not state a predetermined price for a certain quantity of shares. It can be one of the quickest ways to implement this strategy of retrieving back the stocks.

What is the Buyback Ratio?

The buyback ratio is the sum of the cash payments made by a corporation to repurchase its common shares during a specific period, often the previous year, divided by the market value of the firm at the start of the buyback period. 

Analysts can analyze the prospective effects of repurchases across several corporations using the buyback ratio.

Since firms that regularly participate in buybacks have traditionally outperformed the general market, it is a reliable predictor of a company's capacity to return value to its shareholders.

This ratio demonstrates how to discover and compare the potential effects of share retrieval plans across various corporations. Additionally, stockholders can judge a company's capacity to deliver returns on their investments.

An organization's outstanding share float decreases, which eventually increases its profitability and cash flow on average. The management team will also have extra time to determine whether to pay dividends to its shareholders.

How is Share Repurchase Calculated?

Share Repurchase Calculation

No. of outstanding shares 1,000,000
Shareholder’s Equity $25,000,000
Market value per share $20
Book value per share $10

The company decided to buy 200,000 shares. Calculate the market value per share after the buyback process.


Here, the company would spend 200,000*20 = $4,000,000 to purchase back the shares.

The shareholders equity would be then equal to $25,000,000 - $4,000,000 = $21,000,000

The number of outstanding stock would be 1,000,000 - 200,000 = 800,000 

Therefore, the book value of the share is $21,000,000/800,000 = $26.25

Thus, it can be observed that after retrieving the shares, the market value would increase from $20 to $26.25. Thus, due to this action, there would be a profit of $6.25 per share.

How does the Repurchasing Process work?

Over a long period of time, corporations repurchase shares on the open market. They may even have a defined share repurchase program that acquires shares periodically, or:

A tender offer may be made to shareholders, giving them the chance to surrender all or a portion of their shares within a certain time period at a price higher than the current market price. Investors who offer their shares rather than hanging onto them are compensated with this premium, or:

The organization uses other different techniques for retrieving the shares. They take a viable decision keeping in mind the conditions of the organization, its value of it, its risk, and other conditions.

The corporation has three options for financing the retrieval, it may use:

  • Cash on hand
  • Loans
  • Cash flow from operations

The buyback ratio takes into account the amount spent on retrieval during the previous year, divided by the company's market capitalization at the start of the reclamation period. 

The buyback ratio makes it possible to compare the prospective effects of repossession among various firms.

Due to the past outperformance of firms who regularly participate in buybacks relative to the overall market, it is also a reliable sign of a company's capacity to return value to its shareholders.

Impact of a Share Repurchase

Public corporations in the US are typically run with the intention of maximizing profit for shareholders. In light of this, a business that is producing more cash than it requires to finance its own operations and investments may decide to provide that extra money to its shareholders.

The board of directors of a corporation may determine that it would be appropriate to use the extra funds to purchase its own stocks. This decision is taken keeping in mind the impacts on both the company and its stakeholders.

Impact on Company

It's crucial to realize that once a corporation buys back its own shares, these are either:

  1. Canceled, lowering the total number of outstanding shares permanently, or
  2. Kept by the firm as the treasury. 

These are not included in the calculation of stakes outstanding, which has an impact on several crucial indicators of a company's financial health.

The calculation of important measures like earnings per share (EPS) involves dividing an organization's net profit by the total number of outstanding shares. 

A corporation's EPS will increase if the number of outstanding securities is decreased, which might create the impression that the firm is functioning better.

The price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio), which compares a firm's stock price to its EPS to assist investors to understand a company's relative valuation, is the same.

The quantity of cash on a company's balance sheet is also diminished via buybacks. As a result, the company's assets (cash) have dropped, which raises the return on assets. Due to less stock being issued, the return on equity will also increase.

Impact on Shareholders

Since the aim of a buyout program is to increase investor confidence and thus increase the company's stock price, shareholders do gain indirectly from it. The rationale behind this plan is to increase the value of the remaining equities by removing them from circulation. 

A repurchase might be advantageous for stakeholders if a publicly traded firm is performing well, has extra cash on hand, and its securities are undervalued.

However, a company's choice to repurchase securities of stock while ignoring other aspects of its operations or delaying investments in its future growth would probably lead to deprivation of shareholders' value in the long run.

We could further refer to a real-world scenario of the repurchase of Apple stocks by the company by referring to the article

Advantages and Disadvantages of Share Repurchase

As a coin has two sides, this action too has 2 sides having pros and cons. During the decision-making process, the organization takes into consideration both ends to ensure that the benefits of using cash flow outweigh the negatives. 

Thus they might examine these as follows:

The advantages are:

  1. By reducing the number of outstanding shares, the share repurchase increases the value of each share as a proportion of the firm. Assuming that the stock price stays the same, the price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) will decline as the firm's EPS rises.
  2. Although the equities' value has not changed, the lower P/E ratio may give the impression that they are more valuable than they are, making the company more appealing to investors.

The disadvantages are:

  1. A share repurchase may convey the appearance that a company has no alternative viable growth prospects, which is problematic for growth investors seeking higher sales and profit margins.
  2. A corporation is not required to purchase securities as a result of market or economic developments.
  3. If the economy suffers a decline or the organization is faced with financial commitments that it cannot satisfy, repurchasing shareholdings puts the company in a risky position.
  4. After a successful phase, businesses frequently buy back equities when they have a lot of cash businesses have a lot of cash, they frequently buy back equities. This indicates that the stock is being repurchased by the corporation at a premium price. In such a scenario, a corporation can wind up purchasing its shares at a cyclical price peak, receiving fewer shares for its investment, and being left with less cash on hand when business slows.


An effective technique to increase profits for shareholders is through a repurchase if the firm has extra cash and its shares are debatably cheap.

However, if the company's shares are costly, it is worthwhile to inquire as to why it isn't opting to give a special dividend to its shareholders instead of saving the money for the worst circumstance.

An excellent situation when a business would consider retrieving its stocks is when:

  • The corporation can purchase equity at a price below the value.

  • When it does not carry heavy debts which need a huge amount of interest to be paid

  • When they cannot spend surplus funds on other ventures that yield enough returns.

On the other hand, a highly leveraged corporation that uses debt to pay for a buyback to acquire stakes at an excessive price instead of generating excess returns through reinvestments such organizations would be applying a poor strategy of using the money for the company.

Researched and authored by Shweta Wadhwani | LinkedIn

Reviewed and Edited by Justin Prager-Shulga LinkedIn

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