Louisville, Kentucky-based Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) announced today that its board of directors has authorized the company to repurchase additional shares of common stock worth $1 billion. The owner of popular fast food brands like KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut also announced dividend of $0.335 per share.

Yum! Brands Authorizes $1B Share Buyback; Declares Quarterly Dividend

The dividends will be distributed to shareholders of record till January 11, 2013 on February 1, 2013. If you sell your shares in the company before January 11, 2013, you won’t get dividends on February 1, 2013. The $1 billion in additional share repurchase is authorized through May 31st, 2014.

Repurchases can be made from time to time, either through privately negotiated deals or in the open market. And they are subject to several factors and market conditions. This year, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) has bought back $815 million worth of shares of common stock at a $66 average price.

Yum is the world’s largest restaurant chain with more than 38,000 restaurants in over 120 countries. Its KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut are the international leaders in chicken, Mexican style, and pizza food categories. The company is now showing signs of a comeback, as same store sales are improving. Taco Bell’s recently launched Doritos Locos Tacos has been a hit in the market.

Last month, the company reported its third quarter earnings. Operating profits increased 23 percent and revenues jumped 9 percent to $3.6 billion. However, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) didn’t perform up to the expectations in the Chinese market due to poor economic conditions.

The first priority of Yum is to invest the profits it generates in high return growth opportunities. The company is also committed to giving back significant cash to shareholders. Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) has returned $5.7 billion of cash to shareholders in the last five years, through a combination of share repurchases and dividends.

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) said it will host an investors and analysts conference in New York on December 6. Yum shares jumped 1 percent today to $71.85 per share. The stock is up 22 percent year to date.