"NASDAQ OMX ended 2012 with a strong finish to the year, driven by a significant pick-up in corporate activity coupled with solid performance in our U.S. options, U.S. proprietary data products and global index businesses," said Bob Greifeld, CEO, NASDAQ OMX. "While the volume environment remained weak in the fourth quarter, we continued to expand our diversified, global portfolio of businesses, increasing our stream of recurring revenues, generating strong cash flows and delivering attractive returns for our shareholders."
Mr. Greifeld continued, "Looking to 2013, we are encouraged to see positive, multi week inflows from retail investors into U.S. equity mutual funds and some signs of improvement in the volume environment. As we move through the year, we will remain focused on strengthening our franchise by ensuring we have the talent, structure and business portfolio to deliver for our clients and shareholders. I believe we are creating the foundation for growth and outperformance regardless of the economic, business or volume cycles."
Lee Shavel, NASDAQ OMX's EVP and Chief Financial Officer, said: "Our cost reduction plan was successful and we exited the year with $50 million in run-rate savings. In 2012 we generated in excess of $500 million in free cash flow, and we continued to deploy our cash flow in ways that benefit our investors. During the year, we returned $275 million to shareholders through buybacks, $65 million through our dividend program, and we purchased a number of attractive assets, including BWise, NOS and the index business of Mergent, Inc., including Indxis. We also recently announced the proposed acquisition of Thomson Reuters' Investor Relations, Public Relations and Multimedia Solutions businesses. I fully expect these acquisitions, coupled with our ongoing capital deployment efforts to drive substantial shareholder value in the years ahead."
At December 31, 2012, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $497 million and total debt of $1,976 million, resulting in net debt of $1,479 million. This compares to net debt of $1,611 million at December 31, 2011. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the company repurchased 2.1 million shares of outstanding common stock under a share repurchase program, for a total of $50 million. Since January 2010, NASDAQ OMX has repurchased $1,172 million of outstanding common stock, representing 53.4 million shares at an average price of $21.97.