Qualcomm cleared to buy back up to $15 billion in shares; boosts dividend by 14 percent

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Qualcomm said Monday that its board approved plans to buy back as much as $15 billion in stock and raised its dividend.

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As part of that plan, the San Diego-based chipmaker will buy back up to $10 billion of its common shares over the next 12 months. The company expects to begin repurchasing shares in its fiscal third quarter.

Buying back stock tends to lift a company's per-share earnings.

Qualcomm also is raising its annual dividend 14 percent to $1.92 per share. The increase will show up in the company's quarterly payouts after March 25.

The company plans to pay for the buybacks and higher dividend by selling debt.

Qualcomm shares rose $1.20 to $72.71 in regular trading. The stock added $2.13, or 2.9 percent, to $74.84 in extended trading.