Cash-rich firms continue to initiate major share buybacks, and investors continue to applaud. 

Shares of Celgene Corp. (CELG) rose in premarket trading on Thursday, May 24, after the biotech firm said its board had authorized an additional $3 billion of stock buybacks.

The Summit, N.J.-based company also said it plans to enter into an accelerated share repurchase agreement (ASR) to buy back $2 billion of stock. The planned ASR will use part of the existing authorized buyback program and part of the new authorization.

The stock was up 1.3% to $78.67 ahead of the market open on Thursday. The stock has tumbled 25.6% so far this year, and is down 33.8% over the last 12 months.

"The increase in our share repurchase authorization and planned accelerated share repurchase program reflects our confidence in the long-term potential of Celgene," said Celgene chairman and CEO Mark J. Alles in a statement.

In February, Celgene's board authorized the repurchase of an additional $5 billion of stock.
In the first quarter, the company bought back about 29 million shares for about $2.7 billion.  

Also during the first quarter, Celgene deployed capital on acquisitions. It acquired the rest of Seattle immunotherapy company Juno Therapeutics Inc. for around $9 billion in a deal announced in January and completed in March. Celgene also purchased  San Diego-based Impact Biomedicines for as much as $7 billion, including an upfront payment of about $1.1 billion, in a transaction announced in January and completed in February.

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