Fidelity National Information Services Inc.'s board has authorized a $2.5 billion stock-repurchase plan, offering to buy back its common shares for between $29 and $31 each, up to a nearly 17% premium over it closing price Tuesday when it announced the plan.
FIS shares rose on the news, closing Wednesday at $27.47, up 3.43%, and rising another 1.09% by midday Thursday to $27.77.
The stock has risen 43% in the past year through Tuesday; its market capitalization is now roughly $9.8 billion.
FIS disclosed last week that it was considering either a leveraged buyout or a recapitalization similar to what it announced this week. The disclosure came shortly before LBO talks collapsed because FIS could not agree on a price with Blackstone Group LP, which was leading a consortium of potential buyers.
The company is planning to buy back shares in a modified Dutch tender offer. FIS holders may tender their shares within the $29-to-$31 range, after which FIS will determine the lowest price at which it can buy back up to $2.5 billion. A "leveraged recap" can please investors but it carries a high degree of risk, which has made most corporate boards averse to such deals. The new buyback program is in addition to the 13.6 million shares remaining in FIS' three-year stock-repurchase authorization unveiled in February.
Last month, FIS reported first-quarter profit nearly tripled, beating expectations, because of a big jump in processing and service revenue. FIS earnings have remained fairly steady through the economic downturn, and it has said it expects to benefit this year from lower borrowing costs.