CBS raises dividend, share buyback

(Reuters) - CBS Corp said on Thursday it will expand its push to return cash to shareholders by increasing its share buyback by nearly 60 percent and raising its dividend payout by nearly 20 percent. The parent of the U.S. broadcast TV network said it will accelerate the pace of its newly expanded repurchase program, which will now have $3 billion remaining of the $4.7 billion authorized. It intends to complete it by the end of 2014. The program is used to repurchase CBS Class B common stock. CBS will now pay out 12 cents a share, with a scheduled dividend due on Oct 1. CBS shares have risen nearly 70 percent to date since the buyback program was initiated in Jan 2011. During that time it has bought back $1.7 billion in stock. The shares rose a further 3.5 percent on Thursday, ahead of rival media stocks. In the last two years media investors have favored companies using their cash to pursue aggressive buybacks rather than making major acquisitions. News Corp, which owns rival network Fox, has been pursuing an aggressive buyback strategy in the last 12 months. It has committed to buying back a total of $10 billion in shares by June 2013. Its share have risen some 25 percent in that period. (Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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