BlackBerry raises ceiling on 2015-16 stock buybacks, has spent US$73.7 million

WATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) has more than doubled the amount of stock it can repurchase from the public market by mid-2016.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company said Friday that it has already repurchased 9.9 million common shares since June 29, 2015 — about 2.1 per cent of the public float — at an average weighted price of US$7.43 per share.

It has also received approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq to raise the ceiling on its 2015-16 share buyback program to 27 million common shares, up from 12 million shares.

The new ceiling represents 5.8 per cent of the BlackBerry shares in public markets.

Share buyback programs, formally called normal course issuer bids, give companies the opportunity — but not the obligation — to repurchase and cancel shares.

Companies often describe such buybacks as a way to return cash to shareholders. Share buybacks also tend to support earnings per share because profits are divided among fewer shares.

Based on the average price paid for stock repurchases to Jan. 29, BlackBerry paid about US$73.7 million. At the end of the company’s fiscal third quarter on Nov. 28, it had US$1.46 billion in cash.