Sara Lee initiates $500 million share repurchase

by Eric Schroeder
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DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — Sara Lee Corp. has initiated an accelerated share repurchase program under which it intends to repurchase $500 million of its common stock, a move that will reduce the company’s shares outstanding to approximately 661 million from 697 million. The repurchase is part of Sara Lee’s earlier announced capital plan under which the company intends to buy back $2.5 billion to $3 billion of stock over a three-year period, with $1 billion to $1.3 billion to be repurchased during 2010.

Sara Lee also said it has hedged €1.6 billion ($2.2 billion) of the proceeds it expects to generate through the divestiture of its Household & Body Care business at a euro-dollar rate of $1.35 per euro. The company said it expects to incur a one-time charge of $550 million, or 80c per share, to provide for taxes on the deemed repatriation of existing overseas cash and the book value of the Household & Body Care business.

As a result of the accelerated share repurchase and one-time charge, Sara Lee has updated its earnings-per-share guidance for fiscal 2010 by 2c to $1.02 to $1.07.

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