October 18, 2013 / 1:23 PM / in 4 years

Safeway increases buyback plan by $2 billion, shares rise

Oct 18 (Reuters) - Safeway Inc said on Friday its board authorized an additional $2 billion in stock repurchases, adding to the roughly $800 million the grocery store operator had left under an existing authorization at the end of the third quarter.

Shares of Safeway rose to $34.00 in premarket trading after closing at $33.38 on Thursday.

In September, hedge fund Jana Partners LLC disclosed that it had acquired a 6.2 percent stake in Safeway and had held talks with Safeway about reviewing strategic alternatives and what it considered its undervalued shares. The hedge fund also said it had spoken with Safeway about exiting lower margin areas. Earlier this month, Safeway said it was leaving the Chicago market. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl in Chicago; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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