Share Buybacks: Apple Kicks Off $10B Repurchase Plan, News Corp Sells Back to BSkyB

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) began on Sunday a three-year, $10 billion stock repurchase plan it announced back in March. The plan was designed to offset the shares Apple was giving its employees in lieu of larger salaries, and announced last spring, at the same time Apple announced it would initiate a $2.65-per-share dividend. The repurchase plan was widely unexpected by Wall Street, and unwelcome by many who thought the company should instead issue a larger dividend rather than use its cash stockpile to buy back shares.

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE:TRW) announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a $1 billion share repurchase program. “The share repurchase program announced today reflects TRW’s on-going commitment to maximizing shareholder returns over time and demonstrates our confidence in sustaining positive earnings and cash flow from our operations,” said John C. Plant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our positive outlook and strong capital structure should allow TRW to continue making the necessary investments in our business in support of future growth while enhancing returns to our shareholders.”

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British Sky Broadcasting (BSYBY.PK) has announced that it will enter into an irrevocable and non-discretionary arrangement with its broker, Barclays, to repurchase ordinary shares in the company for cancellation during its close period, commencing October 1 and ending November 1, 2012. News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) will also sell ordinary shares to BSkyB. These arrangements are part of a 750 million-pound share buyback program that was approved by shareholders at the company’s Annual General Meeting last November.

UTStarcom Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:UTSI) provided an update Monday on its third-quarter share repurchase activity, under an ongoing $20 million repurchase program it launched in August 2011. During the third quarter of 2012, UTStarcom repurchased $3.48 million of its ordinary shares, bringing the cumulative total under the current program, which the Board extended through February 15, 2013, to approximately $7.0 million. “We remain committed to our share repurchase program as an important and effective way to enhance shareholder value. Our cash position allows the Company to be well on track with executing the share repurchase program and we continue to buy back shares at the maximum rate allowed under the current program,” said CEO William Wong.

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