Dealbook (The New York Times) column’s readers throw in their two cents on the debate on share buybacks in the context of businesses requesting government bailouts during the current COVID-19 epidemic:

  • “What is the point in saving cash for a rainy day when the government is going to bail you out anyway?”
  • “Part of the problem with the buyback debate is that it is framed as companies ‘spending’ money on them. Buybacks and dividends return money to shareholders that the company is not spending. Are buybacks the best way to return money to shareholders? Yes, for continuing shareholders if the buyback price is lower than the intrinsic value of the stock. But who is to say what is intrinsic value?”

Jason Orestes of TheStreet advoicates,

Banning companies that get bailouts from buybacks does nothing to punish the executives who made the decision. They’ll likely get fired and still enjoy the fruits of their misdeeds as they depart the wreckage they left behind. Companies don’t make decisions, people make decisions. People should be made the target of these sanctions.

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