Share Buyback Announcements Still Coming (HLF, GPS, WABC, JRN)

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Today we continued to see companies announcing new or adding to existing share buyback plans.  These were the main announcements, although it may be worth noting that this does not include companies that have repurchased shares in the open market.  Below is a list of the buyback plans and some add-on notes with explanations or exceptions:

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) said it was increasing its share buyback plan by $150 million to $450 million.  Of course it has requested an increase of $150 million in the revolving credit commitments pursuant to its existing Credit Agreement dated July 21, 2006. Including this increase, the company would have aggregate revolving credit commitments of $250 million. The company is pursuing this borrowing facility increase on a best efforts basis and expects it to be concluded by September 15, 2007.  Since authorization of the share repurchase program on April 17, 2007, the company has repurchased 5.2 million shares for an aggregate of $204 million, representing approximately 7 percent of the fully diluted share base as of that date.

Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) has added $1.5 Billion to its share buyback plan after earnings today, although an accelerated buyback looks like it will be to the founders.  The company expects that about $250 million (17%) of the $1.5 billion share repurchase program will be purchased from these Fisher family members.

Westamerica Bancorporation (NASDAQ: WABC), parent company of Westamerica Bank, announced that its Board of Directors approved a plan to repurchase, as conditions warrant, up to two million shares of the Company’s common stock on the open market or in privately negotiated transactions from time to time prior to September 1, 2008.  The repurchase plan represents approximately 6.8% of the Company’s common stock outstanding as of July 25, 2007, and the plan replaces the existing two million-share stock repurchase program, under which 576,000 remained available to purchase as of June 30, 2007.

This morning Journal Communications, Inc. (NYSE:JRN) announced that it has repurchased 3,200,000 shares of class B common stock from the Company’s founding family shareholder, Matex Inc., at $10.00 per share, for a total of $32.0 million.

Jon C. Ogg
August 23, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.