updated 12:10 pm EDT, Tue September 17, 2013
Increases dividend, renews share repurchase program before analyst meeting
Microsoft has announced it will be raising its quarterly dividend, at the same time as starting a share buyback program. The scheme sees Microsoft authorizing up to $40 billion in share repurchases, with no expiration date set for the program, with the new buyback plan replacing an earlier $40 billion scheme that was set to expire at the end of this month.
The eighth quarterly dividend increase of 5 cents per share boosts the dividend from 23 cents to 28 cents per share, reports the Wall Street Journal. The last time Microsoft increased the dividend, which it started in 2004, was just a three-cent rise in September 2012, with the changed dividend payment being payable on December 20th to shareholders of record on November 21st. "These actions reflect a continued commitment to returning cash to our shareholders," said Amy Hood, chief financial officer at Microsoft. The extra dividend payments will end up costing the company an additional $422 million per quarter.
The timing of the dividend increase and the buyback renewal comes just before a financial analyst meeting on Thursday, with the promise of extra cash to shareholders likely to subdue analysts looking to question changes the company has made over the last few months. Microsoft announced earlier this month that it would be buying the mobile phone operations of Nokia for approximately $7.2 billion, with the deal expected to complete in the first quarter of 2014, while its executive management was shuffled before CEO Steve Ballmer revealed he would retire within the next year, prompting a search for a new CEO.
In its most recent results filing, Microsoft revealed it had a quarterly revenue of $19.90 billion, making $5 billion in profit despite writing down $900 million on unexpectedly poor sales of the Surface RT.