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Spotify to Buy Back Up to $1 Billion in Stock

Aiming to boost its flagging stock price, Spotify announced a plan Monday to repurchase up to $1 billion worth of shares.

On news of the stock-buyback program, Spotify shares rose 2.3% in pre-market trading. [UPDATE: The stock closed up 3.3% on Monday, to $143.60 per share, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq declined 0.38% with declines by Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet.]

The move comes after the music streamer reported third-quarter 2018 results on Nov. 1, with paid subscribers increasing 40% to 87 million worldwide. Revenue for the period rose 31%, to $1.54 billion, while its operating loss nearly doubled to $6.8 million. The earnings news and weaker outlook sent the stock down more than 10% last Thursday.

Since Spotify’s share price peaked in July — after its unusual direct-listing IPO in April — the company has lost nearly $10 billion of market value. The decline comes amid a broader pullback in tech stocks, and investors also have cooled to Spotify’s long-term growth story.

Spotify said the repurchase of up to 10 million ordinary shares was authorized at the company’s general meeting of shareholders, and its board approved the buyback up to the amount of $1 billion. The stock-repurchase program will commence in Q4 and expire on April 21, 2021. “The repurchase program will be executed consistent with the company’s capital allocation strategy of prioritizing investment to grow the business over the long term,” Spotify said in a statement.

In the boilerplate of the announcement, Stockholm-based Spotify noted that the stock-buyback program “may be suspended or discontinued at any time at the company’s discretion.”

Spotify had about $1.25 billion in cash and equivalents on the balance sheet as of Sept. 30, up from $543 million at the end of 2017.

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