International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT) recently repurchased 1.35 million, or about $22 million worth of its own stock.
The buyback activity occurred across three transactions from Sept. 30 through Oct. 14 in amounts of 765,300, 289,735 and 298,580 shares, respectively. The minimum price the slot machine manufacturer paid was $15.01 and the highest price it paid for its stock was $18.37, according to a Form 6-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
IGT announced that it has repurchased the following number of its ordinary shares pursuant to its share repurchase program, details of which were announced on November 16, 2021,” according to the regulatory document.
In November 2021, IGT revealed plans for a $300 million, multi-year share repurchase program. That’s the first buyback plan in the company’s history, and arrives a week after the maker of the popular Wheel of Fortune slot machines said it’s reinstating its quarterly dividend of 20 cents a share.
The UK-based gaming technology company provides back-end services and solutions for lotteries and sportsbooks around the world, and also manufacturers slot machines.
IGT Also Buying Back Debt
The gaming device maker has been active in repurchasing its various securities. Last month, the company announced plans to buy back up to $500 million worth of its outstanding corporate debt.
The slot machine manufacturer said the buyback plan will pertain to two large bundles. They include some $1.1 billion of 6.5% senior unsecured notes coming due in 2025, and $499 million of 3.25% senior unsecured euro notes maturing in 2024. Bondholders that met a specific deadline were offered a premium of $30 per $1,000 tendered.
By removing debt from the market, the company is saving on interest expenses — a valuable trait at time when interest rates are rising. Via share buybacks, IGT’s shares outstanding tally shrinks, potentially boosting its earnings per share in the process.
IGT’s debt reduction and balance sheet-firming efforts are relevant for another reason. As the company’s liabilities decline, it positions itself for a better credit rating. Currently, IGT carries a junk grade, but if its balance sheet improves, it becomes a candidate for an investment-grade rating. Companies with those marks earn the benefit of lower financing costs.
Other Catalysts for IGT
Although its stock is down 35.07% year-to-date, IGT is a catalyst-rich story and that includes the aforementioned debt and share repurchase efforts.
IGT is also actively working to reduce its debt burden and bolster cash flow, efforts that could be enhanced by the streamlining of its iGaming and sports betting businesses. Additionally, forming a dedicated outfit for those units could be well-timed, because the move is occurring at a moment of exponential growth in those industries.
There’s some speculation in the investment community that could ultimately lead to a spin-off of the newly formed online casino/sports betting subsidiary, which could unlock value for investors.
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