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Starbucks Raises Stock Buyback by as Much as $1.2 Billion

Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, increased its stock buyback program by as much as $1.2 billion in additional shares amid rising earnings.

The repurchase authorization is for as much as 25 million shares, the Seattle-based company said yesterday in a statement. That’s about $1.2 billion based on the closing price.

Since the initial share repurchase program was authorized in September 2001, Starbucks has repurchased 184 million shares at a cost of $5.1 billion through Sept. 30.

Starbucks reported earlier this month that revenue rose 11 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30. Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz has recently sought to boost sales with non-coffee items such as juice, tea, energy drinks and a single-serve coffee maker. Yesterday, Starbucks announced it agreed to buy Teavana Holdings Inc.

Starbucks joined other consumer companies looking to reward shareholders. Procter & Gamble Co. increased its buyback plan yesterday, while Nike Inc. boosted its dividend by 17 percent. Nike also announced a 2-for-1 stock split yesterday.

The company fell 0.8 percent to $48.43 at the close yesterday in New York. The shares have gained 5.3 percent this year.

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