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Given that a buyback is rarely materially productive for the company but more like a form of
window dressing, it seems to me that such practices are likely to erode, over time, the faith
investors are likely to have in management, and that is likely to lead, eventually, to a recognition that
the firm is foregoing real opportunities in favor of financial engineering and balance sheet decorating.

Well, yes, and, isn't it key to determine what will be done with the repurchased shares? If they are retired the shareholders benefit from having a bigger piece of the company. If they are used for ESOPs, there is obviously a much lower chance for benefit to shareholders. Additionally, it seems that I would have to revise downward any assumptions about ongoing growth if the best investment choice for excess cash was share buyback. It seems to indicate a slowing rate of growth/stable growth business with mgmt that doesn't aggressively seek increased value for owners.

Finally, share repurchase, whatever its "goodness or badness" still seems to be preferable to using the money to acquire marginal assets.

Some random thoughts from the Ozarks,

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