National metro operator abvt said today that its board of directors has authorized a share buyback program of up to $200M throuh the end of next year. It's not as if they aren't *trying* to spend it all on expansions of course, since they've been averaging capex of more than 30% of revenue for some time now.
The question of what to do with all your extra free cash flow is not a bad one to have, although with all the M&A over the past two years you might think they've other places to put it than shares. But of the three public national competitive fiber operators with positive earnings (tw telecom, Cogent, and AboveNet), none has spend money on M&A in that time and all three are now buying back shares - and lots of them. The private equity guys have been paying higher multiples, leaving these three with a difficult case to make for inorganic expansion.
Obviously, they believe the market is undervaluing their potential, and I can't say I disagree. At some point though, each of these three companies will find the right asset out there for the right price, and pounce on it.
If you haven't already, please take our Reader Survey! Just 3 questions to help us better understand who is reading Telecom Ramblings so we can serve you better!Categories: Financials · Metro fiber