Stock Buybacks Boon or Bane for Shareholders | Motilal Oswal

Stock Buybacks Boon or Bane for Shareholders


Stock buybacks, also known as share repurchases, have become a hotly debated topic in the world of finance. This practice involves a company purchasing its own shares from the open market or shareholders at a predetermined price. Are stock buybacks a good thing, or not? To answer this question, we'll delve into the pros and cons of this financial manoeuvre, exploring its impact on shareholders, companies, and the broader economy.

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How a Can Company Buyback Shares?

Let's discuss the two ways in which a company can buyback its shares:

  • Tender Offer: In a tender offer, the company first determines the buyback price and volume and then opens a bid for tender, where it accepts bids from the stockholders. After the tender acceptance period is over, the company makes a decision on how much it should purchase from each bid on a pro rata basis.
  • Open Market Re-purchase: In an open market re-purchase, the company purchases shares from the open market at the prevailing market prices. Here, the company predetermines the volume of buyback, but the price varies, which is subject to market fluctuations.

What are the Effects of Stock Buybacks?

  • Boosting Stock Prices: Stock buybacks can lead to an immediate boost in a company's stock price. When a company repurchases its own shares, it reduces the number of shares in circulation. This decrease in supply often drives up demand, pushing the stock price higher. Shareholders benefit from this increase as the value of their holdings rises.
  • Enhanced EPS (Earnings per Share): One of the primary benefits of stock buybacks is the improvement in a company's earnings per share (EPS). By reducing the number of outstanding shares, earnings are spread across fewer shares, leading to higher EPS. This can make the company's stock appear more attractive to investors and analysts.
  • Flexibility in Capital Allocation: Stock buybacks provide companies with flexibility in managing their capital. Instead of sitting on excess cash, they can return it to shareholders through buybacks. This allows companies to adapt to changing market conditions, invest in growth opportunities, or pay down debt when necessary.

What are Challenges with Stock Buybacks?

  • Income Inequality: A significant criticism of stock buybacks is their potential contribution to income inequality. By boosting stock prices and executive compensation, buybacks may benefit the wealthy more than the average worker.
  • Underinvestment in R&D: Detractors argue that buybacks divert resources away from critical areas like research and development. This can stifle innovation and hamper a company's ability to adapt to changing market conditions.


Stock buybacks have both supporters and critics. The decision of whether they are good or bad depends on various factors, including a company's long-term strategy, market conditions, and regulatory oversight and investor preferences.


Related ArticlesBuyback of Shares in Indian Stock Market | 6 reasons why a company could consider a share buyback | What Are the Charges for a Buyback


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