MasterCard doubles dividend, to buy back $2 billion of shares

PURCHASE, N.Y. Tue Feb 5, 2013 — MasterCard Inc. doubled its quarterly cash dividend and said it would buy back up to $2 billion of its Class A shares, days after the card payment network reported strong fourth-quarter results helped by its performance in emerging markets.

The new buyback program will become effective after the company completes its existing $1.5 billion repurchase program, which had about $440 million remaining as of Jan. 25.

MasterCard shares were up 1.4 percent before the bell.

The new dividend of 60 cents per share effectively returns $75 million to shareholders every quarter, based on 124 million shares outstanding as of Jan. 31.

Berkshire buys $1.2 billion in stock from single investor

OMAHA, Neb., Wed Dec 12, 2012 — Warren Buffett’s conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. bought back $1.2 billion in stock from the estate of an unnamed investor, the company said on Wednesday, one day after Buffett advocated for a higher estate tax when the wealthy die.

Berkshire also raised the threshold for future share buybacks to 120 percent of book value from 110 percent — the level it chose when it first approved a repurchase program in September 2011.

The most recent buyback was done at slightly more than 117 percent of Berkshire’s Sept. 30 book value.

Berkshire said it bought 9,200 Class A shares from “the estate of a long-time shareholder,” whom it did not name. Buffett’s assistant did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the shareholder’s identity.

According to Thomson Reuters data, only seven individuals or entities control enough stock to have been the seller, Buffett among them. It is possible the shareholder’s investment was not publicly known.

Marathon Petroleum sets buyback, may spin off assets

FINDLAY, Ohio – U.S. refiner Marathon Petroleum Corp. announced a stock repurchase of up to $2 billion and said it might spin off some assets, sending its shares up nearly 10 percent and overshadowing news of a wider-than-expected quarterly loss.

The company said on Wednesday that its board had approved a share buyback plan of up to $2 billion over two years and said it was looking at strategic alternatives for some of its midstream assets, including spinning them off into a master limited partnership.

The fourth-quarter net loss was $75 million, or 21 cents per share, compared with year-earlier net income of $230 million, or 64 cents per share.

Analysts on average expected a loss of 6 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

During the quarter, the price between U.S. benchmark crude oil and European Brent crude narrowed, squeezing margins. U.S. crude oil prices averaged about $92.39 per barrel.

Total revenue and other income rose 11 percent to $19.44 billion. Analysts expected $15.06 billion.

Shares of the company, which was spun off from Marathon Oil Corp. last year, were up 9.9 percent at $41.99 in trading before the market opened.