Applied Materials sets new $7.5 billion stock repurchase program

Shares of Applied Materials Inc.

rallied 1.6% in premarket trading Monday, after the semiconductor equipment maker said it has set a new $7.5 billion stock repurchase program. The new program represents about 7.1% of the company’s market capitalization of $105.4 billion as of Friday’s close. The company said the new program supplements the $1.3 billion remaining in its previous program. Separately, the company said the Kokusai Electric Corp. share purchase agreement it has with KKR HKE Investment L.P. may have been terminated, as the companies were unable to confirm regulatory approval in China. Applied Materials said if it does not receive confirmation of regulatory approval by the March 26 deadline for payment, it will treat the deal as terminated and pay KKR a $154 million termination fee. Applied Materials stock has run up 34.1% over the past three months through Friday, while the PHLX Semiconductor Index

has advanced 9.7% and the S&P 500

has gained 6.1%.