IBM clears $15 billion stock purchase to boost share price

Share repurchases, along with software acquisitions, are central to IBM's growth strategy.

IBM's board of directors on Tuesday authorized a $15 billion stock purchase plan, an integral part of the company's growth strategy.

The company said it expects to spend $12 billion on stock repurchases in 2008. It intends to purchase shares with cash.

Acquisitions, particularly in software, and stock repurchases have been the main vehicles for meeting IBM's growth ambitions in the past five years.

"Stock repurchase is not only one of the ways we deliver this value, it is also one of the key elements of IBM's 2010 roadmap for earnings per share growth," said IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel Palmisano, said in a statement.

IBM said the share purchases are expected to add an additional 5 cents to previously anticipated 2008 earnings per share. It now expects to have yearly earnings per share of at least $8.25, which is a 16 percent increase from the year before.

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