Nike Authorizes $12 Billion in Share Buybacks, Stock Split

Nike Announces $12B Buyback Plan, Stock Split

Nike Inc., coming off its most profitable year ever, plans to buy back $12 billion in stock and split its shares 2-for-1.

The new four-year buyback plan will take effect when the current $8 billion authorization is completed, which is expected to occur before the end of the current fiscal year, Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike said Thursday in a statement. The stock split will be in the form of a 100 percent stock dividend payable on Dec. 23 to holders as of Dec. 9.

The announcement comes after the company said last month that it would boost annual sales about 60 percent to $50 billion by 2020, helped by growth in its women’s and online businesses. Nike has seen its stock rise 31 percent this year through Thursday’s close as it continues to gain market share in categories like global football and running.

The shares rose 5.5 percent to $132.65 on Friday.

Net income in the fiscal year ended in May rose 22 percent to $3.27 billion as sales climbed 10 percent to $30.6 billion. The company had $5.92 billion in cash, equivalents and short-term investments at the end of the fiscal year.

Dividend Boost

The company, which last split its stock in December 2012, also increased its quarterly dividend to 32 cents a share from 28 cents.

In splitting its stock, Nike is taking an increasingly rare step among U.S. businesses. Splits reached their peak in the 1990s when companies sought to broaden their appeal to individuals by keeping stock prices low. These days, fewer corporations care about their share prices reaching stratospheric levels. Inc., for instance, trades above $600, while Priceline Group Inc. trades at more than $1,200.

Nike’s stock has more than tripled since the end of the last recession, bolstered by the company taking market share from Adidas AG in soccer and increasing its presence in China and South America. Nike has also benefited from fashion shifting toward the athletic and casual -- a trend known as “athleisure.” And the company has streamlined its operations by selling off brands such as Umbro and Cole Haan.

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