I was all set to nominate Illumina's
But I think I'll withhold judgment for now. On the surface, the buyback looks like a pretty poor use of capital, but in truth, the move might not be that bad for investors.
First, Illumina did pretty well with its last buyback. In the fourth quarter of last year, the company repurchased almost $71 million worth of shares at less than $23 apiece, considerably lower than its price right now. Hopefully, management will use its current allotment just as wisely, and remember that it's not required to buy if its shares are overpriced.
Much like Intuitive Surgical
That pretty much leaves repurchasing shares or making an acquisition. Given that the buyback represents only about one-tenth of its total stash, Illumina hasn't really hampered itself if the next big thing happens by.
But perhaps the most reasonable argument for a buyback is that the company needs to undo shareholder dilution. Employee stock options have bloated its diluted share count, something both fellow Fool Jim Mueller and I have noted. While I'd rather see Illumina get the options under control, and stop acting like a cash-strapped biotech, at least investors will retain a more complete piece of the pie.
Sorry, Rick -- I don't think this one will make the cut this week.
Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Intuitive Surgical is a Rule Breakers selection, and Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor recommendation. The Fool's disclosure policy once bought back a shirt it donated to a resale shop.