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Xiaomi shares worth less despite buyback

Writer:   | Editor: Shangqing Ye  | From:  | Updated: 2019-01-24

Xiaomi Corp. shares have only gotten less valuable after the company repurchased its stock in the wake of the world’s worst initial public offering.

Here’s the math: the company said it’s bought almost 20 million of its own class B shares since Jan. 17.

But because it hasn’t yet cancelled them and some employees exercised their stock options at the same time, the number of those outstanding shares has actually increased by about 11.4 million in the period, according to the filings.

That means investors’ slice of the pie has shrunk — the opposite of what normally happens following a buyback.

Dilution — or dividing the company into more pieces — could also reduce Xiaomi’s earnings per share unless it cancels some repurchased shares.

The Hong Kong-listed smartphone maker still has almost two months to buy back stock before a blackout period typically enforced two weeks prior to earnings, expected in late March.

Billions of Xiaomi shares were unlocked for sale this month after the six-month lockup period that followed the firm’s debut expired. That enabled many shareholders to join the selling, sending the stock to a record low Jan. 16.

The stock lost about 30 percent in the six months that followed its Hong Kong debut, the city’s worst-performing initial public offering with a value of at least US$3 billion.