Cognizant’s share buyback program, dividends to reach USD3.4bn

Global IT outsourcing firm Cognizant is paying investors back with a USD3.4bn share buyback and dividend, the company said. The move is Cognizant’s response to the demands by hedge fund Elliott Management, one of its investors. As part of this plan, Cognizant said it would commence a USD1.5bn accelerated share repurchase program (ASR) in Q1 2017, initiate a regular quarterly cash dividend of USD0.15 per share commencing in Q2 of 2017, and repurchase shares of USD1.2bn in the open market during 2017 and 2018. The company said it would return 75% of its free cash flow to shareholders by 2019. Analysts said Cognizant’s move could trigger calls for similar action from other outsourcing firms.