Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cuban & Stock Buybacks

Mark Cuban has an excellent post pointing out that AIG, Merrill & Lehman spent billions on share buybacks at far higher stock prices . Why the buybacks you ask? To hide the dilution caused by executive stock option compensation. The share count rises with option issuance (dilution) so the companies buy shares back to hide the dilution and keep the share count constant.

This has been happening for a long time. Cuban points out that Dividends would be a better option for returning money to shareholders, and you should never forget that liquidity, in the form of cash, is incredibly valuable and shouldn't be frittered away trying to hide dilution.