Microsoft to buy back $30bn in stock

Microsoft said on Tuesday it will use its massive cash reserve for a $30-billion share buyback over four years and to pay out a special dividend amounting to $32-billion dollars.

The world’s biggest software firm, sitting on a pile of some $56-billion in cash, said the moves were part of an effort to deliver an estimated $75-billion to its shareholders.

Some type of move had been expected since the company had resolved most of its legal issues, including an appeals court affirmation of its antitrust settlement with the US government and several class-action suits in courts around the United States.

It still must resolve an antitrust action in the European Union, which has fined the company 497-million euros ($605-million).

“We have resolved the large majority of our legal issues, which the company has always said was a prerequisite to addressing our cash management plans,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel.

“While we still have a number of legal issues and we take them seriously, we have reduced the legal uncertainties facing the company, and we have a much clearer understanding of the potential risks involved in the cases that remain, such as the ongoing European Commission case.” - Sapa-AFP

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