Wells Fargo Boosts Stock Buyback Authorization

Wells Fargo Boosts Stock Buyback Authorization
By The original uploader was Henry W. Schmitt at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The board directors of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) boosted the company’s authorization to buyback an additional 200 million shares of its common stock. Wells Fargo has approximately 5.3 billion outstanding shares.

The fourth largest bank in the United States also announced the quarterly dividend payment of 22 cents per share for stockholders on record, as of November 9 this year. According to the Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), stockholders will receive their quarterly dividend payments on December 1, 2012.

Wells Fargo Boosts Stock Buyback Authorization

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In January 2011, Wells Fargo’s submitted a capital plan with the Federal Reserve Board, which includes a quarterly dividend rate increases, common stock repurchases, redemption of certain trust preferred capital securities, and the continued open market buyback of common stock warrants. In March, the board of directors of the company reinstated Wells Fargo’s stock repurchase program, and raised its authority to repurchase an additional 200 million shares. The bank also approved a quarterly dividend payment of 12 cents per share.

Based on its latest financial statement, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) repurchased approximately 17 million shares during the third quarter of 2012. The company also plans to repurchase additional 9 million shares by the end of the year. During the past two quarters, the company repurchased 78 million shares (53 million shares in 2Q & 8 million shares in 1Q). Wells Fargo spent $2.6 billion in share buybacks for the past three quarters of 2012.

According to the report from Reuters, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) was one of the major banks in the United States, which was required to pass a yearly stress test by the Federal Reserve, before returning capital to shareholders through stock repurchases or increased quarterly dividend payments. The bank passed the stress test in March, last year.

Ken Usdin, analyst at Jefferies & Company, commented regarding Wells Fargo’s announcement to increase its stock repurchase authorization. According to him, the bank’s move is “purely mechanical.” Usdin also said, “All it does is bridge the gap to the next [stress test].”

The repurchase authorization from the board of directors of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) allows the company to increase the amount of shares it can buy back. The company has 40 million remaining shares to buyback from its previous repurchase authorization.

Based on the current stock price of Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC), the amount of the additional 200 million stock repurchase is almost $6.8 billion. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) is the largest shareholder of the company.

Share of the company are up 1% to $34.20 in today’s trading session.

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