Facebook to buy back up to $6 billion in stock

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook said it would repurchase up to $6 billion of its stock beginning early next year.

The Facebook board approved the buyback on Friday, the social media giant said in a regulatory filing after the markets closed.

Facebook shares rose 1% to $118.40 in after-hours trading.

"The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including price, general business and market conditions, and alternative investment opportunities," Facebook said. "The program will be executed consistent with the company’s capital allocation strategy of prioritizing investment to grow the business over the long term."

Facebook, like other major tech companies, has amassed a stockpile of cash in recent years. Facebook has $26 billion in cash and short-term investments. Tech companies often don't return cash to shareholders, preferring to spend it on acquisitions and other growth opportunities.

The decision comes after a precipitous decline in the stock price earlier this month when Facebook warned investors that revenue growth would slow next year. Earlier this week, Facebook said it had uncovered more instances in which it had overstated how much consumers interact with its content. Advertisers rely on these measurements when deciding to buy ads. And Facebook is grappling with allegations that fake news on the giant social network fueled misinformation and sowed division during the presidential election and may have even influenced the outcome.


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