The ups and downs of Apple’s stock buybacks

Neil Cybart has done us a favor and extracted three years of share repurchase data from Apple’s 10-Qs.

From “10-Q Takeaways” ($) posted Monday to Above Avalon subscribers.

    • 1Q17: $5B spent on buyback. Average price paid per repurchased share: $112.78.
    • 2Q17: $4B. Average repurchase price per share: $128.74.
    • 3Q17: $4.5B. Average repurchase price per share: $148.24.
    • 4Q17: $4.5B. Average repurchase price per share: $154.78.
    • 1Q18: $5.1B. Average repurchase price per share: $169.25.
    • 2Q18: $23.5B. Average repurchase price per share: $171.48.
    • 3Q18: $20.0B. Average repurchase price per share: $177.34.
    • 4Q18: $19.4B. Average repurchase price per share: $210.32.
    • 1Q19: $8.2B. Average repurchase price per share: $216.61.
    • 2Q19: $12.0B. Average repurchase price per share: $167.47.
    • 3Q19: $17.0B. Average repurchase price per share: $193.12.
    • 4Q19: $17.9B. Average repurchase price per share: $208.79.
    • 1Q20: $10.0B. Average repurchase price per share: $250.18.

The sharp increase in Apple’s buyback pace in 2Q18 was due to U.S. tax reform. The decline in buyback activity in 1Q19 was due to customer demand weakness in China. The decline in share buyback activity in 1Q20 was primarily due to Apple also utilizing a new accelerated share repurchase (ASR) program.

Here’s what that looks like in graphical form (chart is Cybart’s, annotation mine):

Apple buybacks ups downs

My take: This one’s for you, Joe Bland.

See also: Apple’s Form 10-Q

3 Comments

  1. Michael Thompson said:
    There was a new $10 billion ASR + $10 billion in open market purchases during the 1st quarter 2020 ($20 billion, although some of the ASR remains.

    1
    February 4, 2020
  2. Kirk Burgess said:
    That’s not a great graph – Apple spent $20 Billion on share repurchases in Q1 ($10B open market + $10B ASR), and while Neil noted it in text with an arrow on the graph that there was an ASR, he didn’t specify the amount (which doubles the total for Q1), and also left off all previous ASRs (and their amounts) from prior quarters – not even a note about them.

    It makes zero sense to exclude ASRs from any historic graph of share buybacks, as when it comes to share count reduction they are basically identical to open market purchases.

    1
    February 4, 2020

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