CVS Caremark board OKs repurchase program

Posted June 14, 2010 at 3:39 p.m.

Associated Press | CVS Caremark Corp. said Monday its board has approved a new share repurchase program for up to $2 billion of its stock. The new CVS buyback authorization comes as the drugstore chain and rival Walgreen Co. are taking shots at each other over CVS’ pharmacy benefits management program.

The Woonsocket, R.I., company is the second-largest U.S. drugstore operator and third-largest pharmacy benefits manager. It had completed its previous buyback program earlier this quarter. CVS had 1.36 billion shares on the market as of April 27.

Its shares rose 32 cents to $32.40 in midday trading Monday.

CVS said the new buyback authorization is effective immediately and expires at the end of next year. Share repurchases will be done on the open market, through privately negotiated transactions, accelerated share repurchase transactions and other transactions.

CVS Caremark said it repurchased about 16.7 million shares for about $613 million during the second quarter. That completed a $2 billion repurchase program authorized last November.

Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, said last week that it would not participate in any new networks run by the Caremark pharmacy benefits management business, meaning that it would stop filling any Caremark prescriptions in about three years. CVS responded two days later by saying it will cut Walgreen out of almost all of its networks by July 9.

The news hurt shares of both companies. CVS shares declined 5.1 percent last week, including an 8.1-percent drop on June 7. The stock has traded between $27.38 and $38.27 over the last year, and they have lost 13.1 percent of their value since April 30. The S&P 500 is down 8.2 percent over the same period.


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