Cracker Barrel Keeps Dividend Steady, Authorizes $50 Million Share Buyback Program

Country store and restaurant chain Cracker Barrel is holding steady on its dividend payout this quarter, the company announced this week.

The company plans to pay investors $0.75 per share, the same amount it has paid since August 2013, after boosting its payout 50% from $0.50. On an annualized basis, the most recent dividend adds to $3.00 per share of common stock.

Cracker Barrel's latest dividend will be payable Nov. 5 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 18. As of the market's close on Sept. 25, the restaurant brand's stock was trading at $102.37. This means the company's dividend currently offers a 2.9% yield.

Along with its dividend, Cracker Barrel's Board of Directors has authorized a new share repurchase program worth up to $50 million of the company's stock. In 2012, the company bought back $14.9 million worth of stock, after being authorized for a $100 million repurchase program.

Additionally, Cracker Barrel's largest shareholder, Biglari Capital, has  withdrawn a request with the SEC for a vote from shareholders on a one-time $20-per-share dividend. The Board, however, has included a proposal for a special dividend vote during its 2013 annual meeting Nov. 13, urging shareholders to vote against the payout.

Said the company in its press release: "A $20 dividend, representing an aggregate dividend of over $475 million, would require a substantial increase in leverage and in the Company's risk profile. Such leverage would reduce the Company's flexibility to continue to invest in and grow the business in the face of changes in market conditions and other contingencies in a way that the Board believes maximizes long-term results and enhances total returns to all shareholders."


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