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BROOMFIELD, CO-Publicly traded Vail Resorts Inc. on Thursday announced a 3 million-share increase its stock repurchase program. The move comes one day after the mountain resort operator’s share price hit a 52-week low.

Vail Resort already has been busy buying back its shares. Over the past 40 days the company has acquired 40% (1.2 million shares) of a previous 3 million-share buyback program launched more than two years ago. The 284,218 shares remaining under the previous share repurchase program are being tacked onto the new program.

The recently acquired shares were purchased for an average price of $39.40. In late afternoon trading Thursday, the company’s share price stood at $37.35, up 4.4% ($1.58) on the day.

The company’s share price reached a 52-week high of $66.25 in October 2007. On Wednesday, the company’s share price hit a 52-week low of $30.03, the same day Banc of America Securities downgraded the company from “buy” to “neutral.”

Vail Resorts has approximately 38.4 million outstanding shares. The new buyback program reflects the board of directors’ “confidence in Vail Resorts’ growth potential,” says Robert Katz, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts in a prepared statement.

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