CVS Caremark Corp., the largest provider of prescription drugs in the U.S., plans to buy back as much as $6 billion in shares.
The repurchase authorization is effective immediately and will take place over multiple years, the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company said today in a statement.
CVS plans to repurchase $3 billion to $4 billion annually in shares over the next several years, Chief Financial Officer David Denton told analysts Sept. 5. The retailer has gained customers after Walgreen Co. last year ended a contract to sell prescriptions through employee-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.
While Walgreen and Express Scripts have renewed their contract, CVS said last month it expects to retain at least half of those customers.
CVS also said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 16.25 cents on Nov. 2 to holders of record as of Oct. 22.
The stock rose 0.7 percent to $47.71 at the close in New York. The shares have risen 34 percent in 12 months.