NIKE has announced that its Board of Directors has approved a new four-year, US$12 billion program to repurchase shares of NIKE’s Class B Common Stock. The company anticipates that the current US$8 billion share repurchase program, unveiled in 2012, will be completed before the end of fiscal 2016, and the new program will commence upon the completion of the current program.
By continuing to repurchase its own shares, Nike draws on cash reserves but continues to reduce the number of shares held by the public. This should benefit existing shareholders; as even if profits do not grow, the reduction in publicly available shares would increase the earnings per share.
NIKE adds that repurchases under the company’s new program will be made in open market or privately negotiated transactions in compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-18, subject to market conditions, applicable legal requirements, and other relevant factors.
This new share repurchase plan does not obligate the company to acquire any particular amount of common stock, and it may be suspended at any time at the company’s discretion. NIKE had approximately 678 million shares of Class B Common Stock outstanding as of 16 November 2015.
“In a growing sports industry, NIKE is the clear leader,” said Mark Parker, President and CEO of NIKE, Inc. “We are built for growth, while also staying committed to creating shareholder value over the long term. We’ve proven it time and again, having returned over US$23 billion to shareholders over the last 14 years through share repurchases and dividends. Moving forward, we see even greater potential for NIKE as we continue to unlock new markets, new experiences and new products.”
The Board of Directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend on the company’s outstanding Class A and Class B Common Stock of US$0.32 per share, on a pre-split basis, payable on 4 January 2016 to shareholders of record at the close of business on 9 December 2015.
The dividend represents a 14% increase over the previous pre-split quarterly rate of US$0.28 per share. This is the fourteenth year in a row the company has increased its annual dividend, over which time the dividend has increased by a factor of more than 10.
The Board of Directors also approved a two-for-one split of both NIKE’s Class A and Class B Common shares. The stock split will be in the form of a 100% stock dividend payable on 23 December 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on 9 December 2015.
Upon completion of the split, the outstanding shares of NIKE’s Class A and Class B Common Stock will increase to approximately 353 million and 1.36 billion, respectively, based on the outstanding shares as of 16 November 2015. The company expects its common stock to begin trading at the split-adjusted price on 24 December 2015.