Wal-Mart unveils $15B buyback to shareholders

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO and CHUCK BARTELS | June 3, 2011 | 10:12 AM EDT

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says it is launching a $15 billion share repurchase program.

The buyback announced Friday at the company's annual meeting will replace a previous $15 billion repurchase plan begun a year ago. The company bought back 244 million shares worth $12.9 billion under that program.

The company also increased its dividend in its current 2012 fiscal year from $1.21 to $1.46 per share, an increase of 21 percent that returned $1.3 billion to shareholders.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The chief of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s international division says the company is building sales around the world by using the same retailing style that company founder Sam Walton developed.

Doug McMillon addressed Wal-Mart shareholders at the company's annual meeting in Fayetteville on Friday.

McMillon noted that the division opened 458 stores last fiscal year, bringing its total to 4,557 stores. The division is working to expand its international Internet shopping business and is also growing through acquisitions.

The company is preparing to close on a $2.4 billion purchase of a majority interest in South African retailer Massmart, which operates in 14 countries.

Wal-Mart opened its first store outside of the U.S. 20 years ago.