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Quest Diagnostics Boosts Share Buyback Plan by $1 Billion

Quest Diagnostics Inc., the biggest U.S. operator of medical labs, said its board increased a company share repurchase plan by $1 billion.

The buyback “is consistent with our long-term disciplined capital deployment strategy, which includes returning the majority of our free cash flow to shareholders,” Steve Rusckowski, chief executive officer of the Madison, New Jersey-based company, said today in a statement.

Quest also will use $300 million in net proceeds from the sale of royalty rights to an experimental cancer drug as part of the share buyback program. The company said July 18 it had sold royalty rights for the drug, ibrutinib, for $485 million in cash to Royalty Pharma.

Quest shares gained 1.7 percent to $59.76 in extended trading at 4:41 p.m. New York time. The company has declined 3.4 percent in the past 12 months.

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