Advantages and Disadvantages of Buyback of Shares

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buyback of Shares

What is Share Buyback? -

A share buyback, or a share repurchase, is when a company buys back its outstanding shares from the marketplace. This process essentially reduces the number of shares available in the open market, thereby increasing the ownership stake of each remaining shareholder. Share buybacks can enhance shareholder value, boost confidence in the company's prospects, and manage capital structure.  The price of these shares is typically higher than the current market price. Companies can use share buybacks to signal confidence in their financial health, improve earnings per share, utilize excess cash, or support stock prices. 

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Table of Content

  1. What is Share Buyback? -
  2. Why do companies choose buyback?
  3. Different Methods of Share Buyback
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of share buyback?
  5. What are the steps to execute the buyback of shares in India?

Why do companies choose buyback?

Companies may engage in buyback programs for various reasons, such as:

Boosting Share Price: By reducing the number of outstanding shares, buybacks can upsurge earnings per share and thus potentially boost the company's stock price.

Capital Allocation: When a company believes its stock is undervalued, it may allocate excess capital towards repurchasing shares rather than investing in new projects or acquisitions.

Returning Cash to Shareholders: Buybacks are a way for companies to return excess cash to shareholders, providing a form of capital return.

Tax Efficiency: Compared to dividends, buybacks can be more tax-efficient for shareholders in certain jurisdictions. Shareholders can choose when to sell their shares, potentially deferring capital gains taxes.

Adjusting Capital Structure: Companies may use buybacks to adjust their capital structure, reducing the amount of equity on their balance sheets or adjusting the mix of debt and equity.

Defending Against Hostile Takeovers: By reducing the number of shares available for purchase, buybacks can make it more difficult for outside entities to acquire a controlling stake in the company.

Improving Financial Ratios: Buybacks can improve certain financial ratios, such as earnings per share or return on equity, which may be important for attaining financial targets or attracting investors.

Flexibility: Buyback programs provide flexibility in managing excess cash compared to other uses of capital, such as dividends or investments in new projects, as they can be implemented quickly and can be adjusted based on market conditions and company performance. 

Get exclusive updates on the TCS share buyback program!

Different Methods of Share Buyback

There are several methods through which companies can execute share buybacks:

Open Market Purchases: The company buys back its shares from the open market through a broker, just like any other investor. Open market purchases provide flexibility in terms of timing and volume of repurchases.

Tender Offers: Here, the company makes a public announcement inviting shareholders to tender their shares at a specified price and within a certain timeframe. The company typically specifies the maximum number of shares it intends to repurchase and the price it is willing to pay.

Dutch Auction: In a Dutch auction, the company specifies a range of prices within which it is willing to repurchase its shares. Shareholders then submit offers indicating the number of shares they are willing to sell and at what price within the specified range. The company then determines the lowest price at which it can repurchase the desired number of shares.

Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR): In an ASR, the company agrees with an investment bank to repurchase a specific number of shares at an agreed-upon price. The investment bank then borrows shares from institutional investors or uses its inventory to sell shares to the company. The final price and number of shares are typically adjusted at the end of the ASR based on the volume-weighted average price of the company's shares during the term of the agreement.

Employee Stock Options Buyback: Sometimes companies use share buybacks to offset the reduction caused by employee stock option plans. By repurchasing shares on an open market, the company can mitigate the effect of issuing new shares to employees as part of their compensation packages.

Block Trades: In a block trade, a large block of shares is bought directly from a major shareholder, such as an institutional investor, at an agreed-upon price. This method enables the company to repurchase a significant number of shares in a single transaction.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of share buyback?

Key Advantages of Buyback of Shares

The primary benefits of share buybacks include the efficient allocation of cash reserves, fortification against potential hostile takeovers, and the indication of positive growth trajectories. On the contrary, major drawbacks encompass the risk of misjudging the company's valuation and potential delays in significant investment initiatives.

Boosting Shareholder Value: By reducing the number of outstanding shares, buybacks can increase earnings per share, making each remaining share more valuable. This can lead to a higher stock price, which benefits shareholders.

Flexibility in Capital Allocation: Companies can use excess cash to buy back shares instead of investing in projects with uncertain returns or paying dividends. This provides flexibility in capital allocation, enabling companies to adjust their capital structure according to market conditions and strategic priorities.

Tax Efficiency: Compared to dividends, buybacks can be more tax-efficient for shareholders, particularly in jurisdictions where capital gains tax rates are lower than income tax rates on dividends.

Supporting Stock Price: Buybacks can provide support for the company's stock price during periods of market volatility or uncertainty. By repurchasing shares, the company effectively becomes a buyer in the market, which can help stabilize the stock price.

Capital Structure: Buybacks offer a way for companies to adjust their capital structure by returning excess cash to shareholders. This can be particularly beneficial when the company's stock is trading at a discount to its core value, as it allows the company to repurchase shares at a lower cost. 

Disadvantages of Buyback of Shares

Opportunity Cost: Funds used for share buybacks could invest in growth opportunities, research and development, or other financial activities. By choosing buybacks, the company might miss out on potential future growth.

Short-term Focus: Share buybacks can sometimes prioritize short-term gains over long-term strategic investments. This focus on short-term performance may not align with the company's overall financial goals and sustainability.

Decreased Financial Flexibility: Using cash for buybacks reduces the company's cash reserves, potentially limiting its ability to handle unexpected expenses, pursue acquisitions, or capitalize on innovation during economic downturns.

Market Risks: Companies might engage in buybacks when their stock price is high, which can be financially disadvantageous if the price falls later. Buybacks might also be seen as a signal of overvaluation, leading to investor uncertainty.

Negative Influence on Employees and Stakeholders: Share buybacks could be perceived negatively by employees, especially if they are accompanied by layoffs or cost-cutting measures to fund the buybacks. Additionally, shareholders who do not sell their shares might see their ownership stake diluted over time.

Regulatory Scrutiny: Share buybacks can be used to manipulate stock prices, potentially leading to regulatory scrutiny or legal challenges, especially if conducted improperly or excessively.

Debt Accumulation: If a company funds its buybacks through debt, it could increase its leverage, leading to higher interest payments and financial risk, particularly if economic conditions deteriorate.

Lack of Investment Signals: Rather than investing in innovation or growth, buybacks might tend to infuse investors that the company lacks better opportunities for deploying its cash, which could erode confidence in its prospects.

What are the steps to execute the buyback of shares in India?

Executing a buyback of shares in India includes numerous steps and compliance requirements, which may vary based on the specific regulations. 

Board Resolution: The board of directors of the company must pass a resolution approving the buyback of shares. This resolution should specify the maximum amount of shares to be bought back, the price, and the timeline for the buyback process.

Shareholder Approval: Shareholder approval is required for the buyback. Depending on the buyback amount, approval may be required through a special resolution passed in a general meeting of shareholders.

Regulatory Filings: The Company must file necessary documents and disclosures with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). These filings typically include a draft letter of offer, detailing the terms of the buyback.

Offer Letter: After receiving regulatory approval, the company must dispatch a letter of offer to its shareholders, providing details of the buyback, including the price, number of shares to be bought back, and the timeline.

Announcement: A public announcement must be made through one national daily newspaper and one in a regional language newspaper where the registered office of the company is located, providing information about the buyback.

Open Offer Period: There must be a specified period during which shareholders can tender their shares for buyback. This period typically lasts for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 30 days from the date of the announcement.

Acceptance of Shares: Shareholders who wish to participate in the buyback offer must tender their shares during the open offer period.

Payment: Once the shares are accepted for buyback, the company must make payment to the shareholders within a stipulated timeframe, usually not exceeding 15 days from the closure of the offer.

Return of Unaccepted Shares: Shares not accepted for buyback must be returned to the shareholders within 15 days from the closure of the offer.

Regulatory Compliance: After completing the buyback process, the company must file necessary disclosures and documents with SEBI and other regulatory authorities to inform them about the buyback outcome.  

To Wrap It Up!
Share buybacks serve as a strategic tool for companies to deploy excess capital, enhance shareholder value, and signal confidence in their stock. However, their effectiveness and implications depend on various factors such as market conditions, company performance, and long-term strategy.

FAQs on Share Buyback

Companies engage in share buybacks to reduce the number of outstanding shares, thereby increasing earnings per share and potentially boosting stock prices.

A share buyback typically reduces the company's outstanding shares and increases earnings per share, potentially leading to improved financial ratios such as earnings per share and return on equity.

Yes, a share buyback can potentially increase a company's stock price by reducing the number of outstanding shares, thus increasing earnings per share.

Share buybacks provide a tax-efficient way to return capital to shareholders and can potentially increase stock prices, while dividends provide regular income but may not have the same impact on stock prices.

Regulatory authorities such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) oversee share buybacks to ensure compliance with securities laws and protect investor interests.

Investors should evaluate a company's share buyback program by considering its impact on earnings per share, debt levels, and long-term strategic objectives.