Pfizer's Board Authorizes $5 Billion Stock Buyback - TheStreet

Pfizer's

(PFE) - Get Report

board authorized the company to purchase up to $5 billion of its common stock, with a limit of 120 million shares.

The company expects to purchase the shares from time to time during the next 18 months in the open market or through privately negotiated transactions. The drugmaker has about 6.3 billion common shares outstanding.

Since 1991, Pfizer has completed five stock repurchase programs covering 686 million shares. Under the most recent program, announced in September 1998 and just completed, Pfizer purchased about 127 million shares at a cost of $5 billion.

Shares of Pfizer rose 1.6% to $42.28 in recent

New York Stock Exchange trading.