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IBM Speeds Up Buyback

The company will repurchase as much as $1 billion of stock by the end of February.
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sped up a plan to repurchase as much as $1 billion of common stock, saying it will buy the shares by the end of February, rather than in March and April as had been previously proposed.

The buyback is in addition to a $12.5 billion repurchase announced earlier this year.

"These stock repurchases are enabled by IBM's strong, consistent cash flow and are an important way of returning value to IBM shareholders," said Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive, in a press release. "They are an element of our long-term roadmap for earnings per share growth through 2010 and also represent a good value at today's prices."

In April, the IBM board authorized $15 billion for the stock repurchase program. The next month, IBM said it would buy back $12.5 billion of its stock from three banks through accelerated share repurchase agreements that will now conclude at the end of February.

At the end of September, IBM had approximately $1.7 billion remaining for stock repurchases from the April authorization.

IBM was up 77 cents to $105.95 in premarket trading Monday.