Adobe’s Buybacks Destroy $545.6 Million in Shareholder Value
SaaS firm has not argued its shares are undervalued leaving investors to wonder if buybacks are primarily to manage share count.
June 30, 2022
With shares down nearly 40% in eight months, Adobe (ADBE) has continued to repurchase its own shares. In its latest quarterly report, Adobe provided a partial update on multiple repurchase programs under its $15 billion authorization.

What’s clear is the buyback— at least initially— has destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars in shareholder value.

First, during the latest quarter Adobe entered into a structured stock repurchase agreement with a large financial institution, providing the institution with a prepayment of $1.2 billion. With $400 million remaining under the agreement at quarter’s close— and an estimated average fiscal second quarter stock price of $413.50— the 1.93 million shares repurchased are now worth 10.8% less.

The structured repurchase destroyed $86.2 million in value.

The buyback coincides with the accelerated share repurchase (ASR) agreement Adobe began in the prior quarter and was settled sometime after the close of fiscal Q2 which ended June 3, 2022. Here, the company repurchased 5.3 million shares at an average price of $455.55, or approximately 19% above the share price as of this writing ($368.86).

The ASR destroyed $459.4 million in value.

With $8.7 billion (including the $400 million remaining on Q2’s structured repurchase) expect Adobe to continue repurchasing shares. The purpose of Adobe’s repurchase program is twofold:

1) Return value to stockholders
2) Minimize dilution from stock issuances

Nowhere in the last two earnings calls does Adobe say it’s repurchasing shares because it believes the stock is undervalued. On the fiscal first quarter call, CFO Dan Durn did highlight how the buyback would create a $0.02 per share benefit each quarter in FY22 versus what was expected at the previous financial analyst day.

Investors with their own intrinsic value estimates will ultimately determine whether Adobe is fulfilling its dual repurchase mandate.
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