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IBM Ready To Raise More Capital, Maybe For Dividends and Buybacks… or Acquisitions

Jon C. Ogg

International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) has filed its automatic shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. What investors will wonder is whether this will be new debt or other sales, and whether or not IBM will use the proceeds to keep buying back shares of its common stock. Maybe IBM will even juice up what we have accused of being an embarrassing low dividend yield for what is a low-growth Dow Jones Industrial Average component.

Today's filing should probably just be taken at face value. The filings include IBM International Group Capital LLC, and the provisions allow for the sale of debt securities, preferred shares, depository shares, capital stock, warrants, and debt guarantees. In short, IBM is keeping its options open and this shelf registration will simply be another shelf filing that can remain open ahead.

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No dollar amount has been listed, and no underwriters have been indicated. This is simply a filing that allows IBM and its subsidiaries to issue securities ahead, and it is possible that IBM will not issue any securities soon. The Use of Proceeds says:

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Unless we otherwise specify in the applicable prospectus supplement, the net proceeds we receive from the sale of the securities offered by this prospectus and the accompanying prospectus supplement will be used for general corporate purposes. General corporate purposes may include the repayment of debt, investments in or extensions of credit to our subsidiaries, redemption of any preferred stock we may issue, or the financing of possible acquisitions or business expansion. The net proceeds may be invested temporarily or applied to repay short-term debt until they are used for their stated purpose.

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IBM's full S-3ASR is here.

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