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Marathon Oil Plans Buyback

The company can repurchase up to $2 billion of stock.
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Marathon Oil

(MRO) - Get Marathon Oil Corporation Report

said its board authorized the repurchase of up to $2 billion of the company's common stock during the next two years.

Based on Marathon's closing price Friday, the repurchase approval would cover about 7.25% of its shares outstanding.

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The Houston-based oil and gas producer said buybacks can be made in either open market transactions, including block purchases, or in privately negotiated deals. Marathon will use cash on hand, cash generated from operations, or cash from its available borrowings to buy the stock. At the end of 2005, Marathon had about $2.6 billion of cash on hand.

Shares of Marathon were gaining $2, or 2.7%, to $77.04 Monday.

Last week, Marathon said its fourth-quarter earnings rose to $1.27 billion from $429 million the previous year. Revenue climbed to $17.3 billion from $14.3 billion in the same period of 2004.