It's interesting how the reports are saying the company has bought back over 100 million shares since the inception of the program in 2001... and yet Valueline has the outstanding share count as follows:
The numbers are adjusted for the split in 2005, but I don't see any evidence of all those shares being taken out of the equation. The overall float has decreased by only 16 million as per these figures since the inception.
Not sure if that data includes any of that, but that was my speculation.
If that is the case, the board is using the company's money to transfer increasing ownership portion to employees and insiders at the expense of public shareholders.
The company fundamentals certainly aren't suffering as a result, and the stock price is definitely outperforming the S+P over the past 20 years, but it means we need to read past the buyback headlines and check whether all of that cash being used is actually to the long-term benefit of Shareholder's Equity.