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But wait, where did company X buy their shares from? They must have bought them from somebody. Therefore somebody got that money. Moreover, your shares in the company increased. If you had 1 share to start with, after the buyback you have the equivalent of 2 shares. Your "dividend" is the extra share, which the company bought for you using the cash they would have otherwise paid out.



"But wait, where did company X buy their shares from? They must have bought them from somebody. Therefore somebody got that money."

From investors. At the current market price; i.e. closer to $20/share than $40/share. Keep in mind two things: the person who sold the share doesn't get any further income from that share, unlike a dividend, and the company won't buy back shares if they believe the shares are fairly- or over-valued. They only buy back shares if they think the stock prices is too low.[1]

The buy-back only acts as a "dividend" to those who sell after the buy-back has raised the stock price, not to those who sold into the buy-back.

"Moreover, your shares in the company increased. If you had 1 share to start with, after the buyback you have the equivalent of 2 shares. Your "dividend" is the extra share, which the company bought for you using the cash they would have otherwise paid out."

Uh, are you confusing buy-backs with stock splits? Before the buy-back, you have one stock share. After the buy-back, you have one stock share, which represents a larger share of the corporation's earnings and book value. Bought-back shares disappear[2]. Your "dividend" is the difference in price of that one share before and after the buy-back.

And the price of that share is free floating, moving according to market forces.

[1] In theory. Ideally. They can also do so to manipulate the stock price, the strike price of management options, and other things that are generally bad for investors. Stock buy-backs have a legitimate purpose, to signal to investors that management considers the stock price to be too low. They're not a substitute for dividends.

[2] They go into the company's treasury, where they can be re-sold later to raise money without affecting dilution, IIUC.




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