Is it too late to call the Hype Police and report Computer Associates'
CA to Double Dividend and Buy Back $400 Million in Stock in FY06
I mean, if you read that and take it at face value, you start believing that the software giant is ready to dig deep to pacify the hearts of income investors, while putting its money where its corporate mouth is by buying back a good chunk of its outstanding shares.
Let's take the second part first. A $400 million buyback, even for a company with a sizable market cap of just over $16 billion, is significant. The only problem here is that the company still had 13.7 million shares left to repurchase from an early buyback announcement.
Let's do some quick math here. With the stock closing yesterday at $27.65 and the company still on the hook to buy 13.7 million shares, that adds up to nearly $380 million at current market prices.
In the company's defense it did indicate that the stock being bought back -- up to $100 million worth during each of the four fiscal quarters -- will be part of the existing stock repurchase plan. It's simply providing a timeline for its likely execution. OK, fine, but maybe next time a more suitable headline would be something like:
CA to Do What it Said it Would Do
Buybacks are a positive. Quality companies like Dell Computer
As for the dividend hike, while the headline is completely accurate, this is a $0.04 semiannual dividend becoming a quarterly distribution. Yes, the payout is doubling to a whole $0.16 over the course of the calendar year, but readers of our Income Investor newsletter service can snooze right past the press release, as all it means is that the company's paltry 0.2% dividend yield will become a still weak 0.4% liquid return.
In other words, the next time you see an impressive headline make sure you read beneath the fold.
Want to learn more?
- CA has a major acquisition to digest.
- The company may still need to tackle last year's demons.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has never announced a share buyback or a dividend hike. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.