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What is an Accelerated Share Repurchase?

Understanding Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) 

An accelerated share repurchase (ASR) is a strategic approach utilized by publicly-traded companies to swiftly repurchase large blocks of their outstanding shares from the market. This process involves collaborating with an investment bank as an intermediary to facilitate the transaction. In this article, we will explore the concept of accelerated share repurchases, their purpose, and their potential benefits for companies and investors.

The Basics of Accelerated Share Repurchase

Accelerated share repurchases have gained popularity in the past decade as a structured buyback strategy. When a company decides to engage in an ASR program, it enters into an agreement with an investment bank. The investment bank assists the company in promptly repurchasing a significant number of shares by providing the shares upfront at the beginning of the agreement. This enables the company to retire a desired quantity of shares rapidly.

To facilitate the ASR program, the investment bank typically borrows the shares it delivers to the company through short-selling agreements with investors. The investment bank covers its short positions by purchasing shares on the market and returning them to the accounts from which they were borrowed. The company repurchasing the shares will incur costs over the duration of the program, as outlined in the agreement with the investment bank. The settlement occurs when all the shorted shares have been accounted for.

It is worth noting that ASRs are not necessarily a strategy for companies to buy dips in their own stock. In fact, companies may end up paying a premium for the assistance of the investment bank and the ability to retire a specific number of shares quickly. The decision to engage in an ASR program is often driven by various factors, including countering the dilutive effects of exercised stock options, improving the earnings-per-share ratio, or consolidating ownership for strategic purposes.

Benefits of Accelerated Share Repurchase

Companies opt for accelerated share repurchase programs when they believe their stock shares are undervalued. By swiftly repurchasing a substantial number of shares, the ASR program aims to inflate the stock's value, benefiting existing shareholders. This strategy can also contribute to an increase in the earnings per share (EPS) of the stock still in circulation, potentially attracting more investor interest and boosting market confidence.

Furthermore, accelerated share repurchases can help companies consolidate their ownership structure efficiently. By repurchasing a significant portion of outstanding shares, the company gains greater control and flexibility in making strategic decisions, such as mergers, acquisitions, or capital restructuring. ASR programs enable companies to quickly adjust their ownership composition, aligning it with their long-term objectives.

Accelerated share repurchases (ASRs) serve as a valuable tool for publicly-traded companies seeking to repurchase a significant number of their outstanding shares quickly. By collaborating with an investment bank, companies can efficiently retire shares, potentially improving the stock's value, increasing EPS, and consolidating ownership. It is important for companies to carefully consider the terms and costs associated with ASR programs and assess the benefits they can bring to their overall corporate strategy.

For investors, ASR programs may present an opportunity to witness increased stock value and potentially benefit from a company's efforts to enhance shareholder value. However, investors should always conduct thorough research and analysis to evaluate the potential impact of an ASR program on a company's financial health and future prospects before making investment decisions.


An Accelerated Share Repurchase (ASR) is a method by which companies can buy back a significant amount of their outstanding shares with the help of an investment bank.

By enlisting the help of an investment bank to accelerate a buy-back, a company can cleanly retire a large bulk of shares at once. These agreements have come into use in the last 10 years, and there is of course some variation in their composition. They fall under a category of buybacks known as structured buybacks.

In general, a company will enter into an accelerated repurchase agreement with an investment bank, and the investment bank will help facilitate the buyback by immediately delivering the number of shares requested to the company at the outset of the agreement. This allows the company to retire the desired number of shares very quickly.

The investment bank, meanwhile, has borrowed many of the shares delivered to the company in a short-selling agreement with investors. The investment bank will cover its short positions by buying shares on the market and returning them to the shorted accounts.

The cost to the company who repurchased shares will add up over this time period, subject to the terms of the agreement with the bank, and they will settle when all of the shorted shares have been accounted for, generally.

Some people have spouted off that these are a way for companies to buy dips in their own stock, but they do not realize that the company will probably end up paying more this way than in a regular stock buyback program. They will pay a premium for the help of the investment bank and the ability to retire a set number of shares quickly.

Retiring shares can be a way to counteract dilutive effects of exercised stock options, or to raise the earnings-per-share of their stock, or other reasons.

What is a Buyback?
What is a Reverse Stock Split?

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