When the C$52-billion takeover of BCE Inc. (NYSE:BCE) collapsed late in 2008, the telecommunications giant promised it would buy back shares and reinstate its quarterly dividend. With more than C$3-billion in cash at the end of the year, it bumped that dividend up from C$.36.5 per share to C$.38.5 in February.
And now it appears that the share repurchase plan is in full swing. Between Feb. 2 and Feb. 27, 2009, BCE bought back and canceled 5,690,500 company shares, SEDI filings show. The prices ranged from C$24.80 per share to C$25.80.
BCE shares traded above C$40 each late in the summer of 2008 as the C$42.75 per share buyout plan looked like a sure thing. However, they dipped to around C$32 in the fall on concerns that the credit crunch would stymie yet another deal, eventually falling as low as C$21.23 on Dec. 12 after the deal was officially terminated.