We have paid $45 million to our shareholders for dividends declared in January and April; have repurchased, as of July 26, 2012, 6.3 million shares of our Class A common stock and exchangeable interests for $168 million, at an average price of $26.58 per share; and have satisfied employee tax obligations of $30 million in cash in lieu of share issuance upon vesting of equity grants in the first half of 2012.
Approximately 4.5 million of these shares, repurchased at a cost of $120 million, served to directly offset the potential dilution from our 2011 year-end equity-based compensation awards, net of estimated forfeitures and tax withholding to be paid in cash by Lazard in lieu of share issuances.
The remaining 1.8 million shares represented $48 million in shareholder returns against our commitment to return $200 million of surplus cash to our shareholders by 2013.
On July 25, 2012, Lazard declared a quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share on its outstanding Class A common stock.Lazard’s financial position remains strong and low risk with approximately $751 million in cash and cash equivalents at June 30, 2012, the majority of which is invested in U.S. Government and agency money market funds. Total stockholders’ equity related to Lazard’s interests is $704 million. CONFERENCE CALL Lazard will host a conference call at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, July 26, 2012, to discuss the company’s financial results for the second quarter and first half of 2012. The conference call can be accessed via a live audio webcast available through Lazard’s Investor Relations website at www.lazard.com, or by dialing 1 (888) 312-3047 (U.S. and Canada) or +1 (719) 457-2605 (outside of the U.S. and Canada), 15 minutes prior to the start of the call. A replay of the conference call will be available beginning July 26, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, through August 9, 2012, via the Lazard Investor Relations website, or by dialing 1 (888) 203-1112 (for the U.S. and Canada) or +1 (719) 457-0820 (outside of the U.S. and Canada). The replay access code is 4276874.