Columnist Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times highlights Qualcomm in her column today (June 7), showing that stock buybacks don't always benefit shareholders.
Over the last five years, Qualcomm has repurchased 238 million of its own shares at a cost of $13.6 billion. However, the company's actual share count has risen 2 percent in that period, Morgenson shows.
What happened? Qualcomm has been issuing shares to its executives and other employees during that five-year period.
"The company is bounteous in its executive pay practices," writes Morgenson. And how. She mentions that chief executive Steven Mollenkopf got a $60.7 million pay package last year that includes $58 million worth of stock.
Morgenson does not mention that Paul Jacobs, executive chairman, who was replaced by Mollenkopf, had compensation of almost as much. Together, their sum was $117.7 million, although the company won't pay all that out in one year.