Buyback Wednesdays – Chegg Wants To Buy Back Nearly 40% Of Its Stock

With earnings season winding down, the stock buyback announcements we are seeing now are often from retailers that tend to end their fiscal year in January. A total of 26 companies announced buybacks during the last week. Capri Holdings (CPRI), the holding company for brands like Versace, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors, announced a $1 billion buyback last week representing 13.5% of its market cap at announcement.

Capri Holdings Brands

When I tweeted the following last November, little did I expect that my wish would be granted just a few days later when Tapestry (TPR) announced a $1 billion buyback and then once again announced an additional $1.5 billion buyback in May 2022 as we discussed here last month.

CPRI Stock Buyback Tweet

Another specialty retailer announcing a very large buyback was the company formerly known as Restoration Hardware (RH), which outdid both Capri and Tapestry by announcing a $2 billion buyback representing nearly 27% of its market cap at announcement. RH trades at a forward P/E of 12 and a forward EV/EBITDA under 9. Net income margin of nearly 20% is impressive but the company is a beneficiary of a big pandemic related jump in revenue. Net income margin pre-pandemic was in the high single digits.

The industrial company WESCO International (WCC) also announced a $1 billion buyback representing nearly 15% of its market cap at announcement last week but did not make our top 5 list. The company that topped our list was one that started out as a textbook rental company and then branched out into homework and exam prep. Chegg (CHGG) has had a difficult year with the stock down more than 72% after revenue growth slowed down significantly during the last two quarters. The company has also taken a reputation hit in recent years as educators have blamed the company for enabling cheating by students and Pearson (PSO) sued the company for selling answers from Pearson textbooks.

After years of net losses, the company finally turned the corner and reported positive earnings during the trailing twelve months (TTM). Free cash flow during that period was $165 million. With an enterprise value of $3.14 billion, we get an EV/FCF of 19, not exactly cheap to trigger a buyback that is almost 40% of the market cap of the company. While the company has $1.2 billion of cash and short-term investments on the balance sheet to fund the buyback, it also has $1.7 billion of long-term debt. The stock appreciated 9% after this buyback announcement but it might be better to wait and see if the company can revive growth and address the repetitional concerns before considering a position in Chegg. With only 5% of the float short and a short ratio (days to cover) of 1.7, the company’s buybacks are unlikely to trigger short-term appreciation through a short squeeze.

Welcome to edition 10 of Buyback Wednesdays, a weekly series that tracks the top stock buyback announcements during the prior week. The companies in the list below are the ones that announced the largest buybacks as a percentage of their market caps. They are not the largest buybacks in absolute dollar terms. A word of caution. Some of these companies could be low-volume small-cap stocks with a market cap below $2 billion.

Top 5 Stock Buyback Announcements 

1. Chegg, Inc. (CHGG): $20.47

On June 02, 2022, the Board of Directors of this direct-to-student learning platform, approved an additional share repurchase program authorizing the company to repurchase up to $1 billion of its class A common stock equal to nearly 38.9% of the common shares of the company. 

Market Cap: $2.63B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 3,237,582 Revenue (TTM): 780.13M
Net Income Margin (TTM): 8.9% ROE (TTM): 6.77%  Net Debt: $510M
P/E: 35.6 Forward P/E: 19.49 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 20.95

2. RH (RH): $306.09

On June 02, 2022, the Board of Directors of this home furnishing retailer, approved an additional share repurchase program authorizing the company to repurchase up to $2 billion of its class A common stock equal to nearly 26.9% of the common shares of the company. 

Market Cap: $7.66B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 1,199,851 Revenue (TTM): $3.86B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 19.68% ROE (TTM): 78.36%  Net Debt: $240M
P/E: 11.88 Forward P/E: 10.42 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 8.33

3. PharmaCyte Biotech, Inc. (PMCB): $2.12

On June 02, 2022, the Board of Directors of this biotechnology company, approved a new share repurchase program authorizing the company to repurchase up to $10 million of its class A common stock equal to nearly 21% of the common shares of the company. 

Market Cap: $44.34M Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 295,890 Revenue (TTM): N/A
Net Income Margin (TTM): N/A ROE (TTM): -7.63%  Net Cash: $86.64M
P/E: N/A Forward P/E: N/A EV/EBIDTA (TTM): N/A

4. Hello Group Inc. (MOMO): $6.24

On June 07, 2022, the Board of Directors of this mobile-based social and entertainment services provider, approved a new share repurchase program authorizing the company to repurchase up to $200 million of its class A common stock equal to nearly 16.4% of the common shares of the company. 

Market Cap: $1.24B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 4,337,022 Revenue (TTM): $2.29B
Net Income Margin (TTM): -19.99% ROE (TTM): -23.02%  Net Cash: $780.6M
P/E: N/A Forward P/E: 3.79 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 2.09

5. JBG SMITH Properties (JBGS): $26.87

On June 06, 2022, the Board of Directors of this office REITs, approved an additional share repurchase program authorizing the company to repurchase up to $500 million of its class A common stock equal to nearly 15.5% of the common shares of the company. 

Market Cap: $3.59B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 1,190,936 Revenue (TTM): $628.66M
Net Income Margin (TTM): -9.31% ROE (TTM): -1.84%  Net Debt: $1.56B
P/E: 290.27 Forward P/E: N/A EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 26.58

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