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Microsoft (MSFT) Reveals New Repurchase Plan, Bumps Dividend

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Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) recently announced that its board has approved a new share buyback plan allowing it to repurchase up to $60 billion worth of shares over an unspecified period. The buyback plan has no expiry date and may also be dismissed at any time, added the company.

The company’s board of directors approved an 11% hike in quarterly cash dividend to 62 cents per share, bringing the annualized dividend rate to $2.48 per share. The new dividend will be paid out on Dec 9, 2021, to shareholders of record on Nov 18.

Microsoft’s strong balance sheet and cash flows provide it with ample financial flexibility to pursue shareholder-friendly endeavours.

As of Jun 30, 2021, Microsoft had total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balance of $130.33 billion, while long-term debt (including current portion) was $58.15 billion. The company generated operating cash flow of $76.74 billion in fiscal 2021.

In fiscal 2021, Microsoft paid out dividends worth $16.9 billion and repurchased shares worth nearly $23 billion.


Microsoft also named Brad Smith as president and vice chair of the company. Smith will report to CEO Satya Nadella. The company’s 2021 Annual Shareholders Meeting will be held virtually this year, given the pandemic situation, on Nov 30, 2021.

Following the announcement, shares of Microsoft are up 1.2% in the premarket trading on Sep 15.

Growth Opportunities Galore for Microsoft

Microsoft’s initiatives to bump shareholders’ wealth underscores its growth potential and robust liquidity position.

The Redmond, WA-based company is benefiting from momentum in its Azure cloud platform. Azure is witnessing rapid uptake owing to the pandemic-induced digital transformation across the globe. The company is now one of the two public cloud providers that can deliver a wide variety of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions at scale.

Azure’s increased availability in more than 60 announced regions worldwide is boosting its cloud business and consolidating its competitive position against Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report) Amazon Web Services and Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google cloud.

Microsoft’s workspace communication offering, Teams, is gaining from the continuation of remote work as well as the implementation of flexible work model. The company noted that Teams had a monthly active user base of 250 million at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021.

Integration of Teams with Microsoft’s various inhouse offerings (PowerPoint presentations, SharePoint, Stream, Dynamics 365) makes it a winner as it facilitates easy collaboration and engagement, while driving outcomes and saving time. However, Microsoft needs to watch out for stiff competition in the space from the likes of Zoom Video (ZM - Free Report) and Cisco.

Recovery in ad and job market is bolstering LinkedIn and Search revenues. Healthy uptake of new Xbox consoles is driving the gaming segment’s performance.

Microsoft commands a dominating position in the operating systems domain. A few days back, the company announced that it will roll out the latest version of its operating system — Windows 11 — beginning from Oct 5, 2021. Windows 11 will be available as a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs.

Successive editions of Windows operating system have resulted in strong revenues and cash flow generation for the tech giant. The company has a large Microsoft 365 installed user base. Microsoft’s Windows 10 monthly active devices stand around 1.3 billion.

In the past year, shares of Microsoft — a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company — have rallied 46.2% compared with industry’s growth of 37.2%.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.