Yum OKs another $1.25B in share buybacks

LOUISVILLE Ky. Yum! Brands Inc. authorized on Thursday an additional repurchase of $1.25 billion in corporate stock over the next 12 months, its second such authorization in just four months.

The stock will be repurchased as part of the restaurant company’s overall buyback plan to purchase up to $4 billion of Yum stock during the next two years, which reduces its overall share count and aids earnings-per-share growth. In October, Yum authorized a $1.25 billion buyback and there is about $450 million left under that initial program, the company said.

Since Yum began its repurchase program in 1999, it has bought back about 250 million shares for about $5.4 billion at an average price of $21.73 per share through Jan. 23. The company said the share-repurchase program has reduced its average diluted share count by 9 percent over the past two years. Yum’s stock price closed at $37.30 per share on Jan. 24, up 4.1 percent from the previous day.

Yum, which operates or franchises more than 35,000 restaurants under Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and other brands, had about 508.6 million shares outstanding as of its latest quarterly filing in October.