Earlier today, ahead of the filing of its 10-Q, IBM provided what it thought would be an unexpected if welcome present to shareholders when it announced that the board authorized $4 billion in additional funds for use in the company’s stock repurchase program. "This amount is in addition to approximately $2.4 billion remaining at the end of September 2015 from a prior authorization. With this new authorization, IBM will have approximately $6.4 billion for its stock repurchase program."
Oddly enough, the stock not only did not rise, it fell, making some wonder if there was some Easter egg about to be announced in the company's 10-Q.
There was, and it was the following:
In August 2015, IBM learned that the SEC is conducting an investigation relating to revenue recognition with respect to the accounting treatment of certain transactions in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland. The company is cooperating with the SEC in this matter.
While hardly suggesting another valeant has emerged, having a regulator focus on a company which has run out of buyback dry powder and whose revenues are the lowest they have been in over a decade, was hardly what the shareholders expected.
The stock, now well below Warren Buffet's cost basis, did not like it and promptly tumbled once it hit the wires.
The good news, for IBM, is that now it has an even lower price at which to execute its buybacks - the stock has tumbled to levels not seen since October 2010.
And is breaking a key support level back to 1999...