Qualcomm Inc. said May 9 it would buy back $10 billion in stock.

The share buyback program replaces a $15 billion program it had since March of 2015 that had $1.2 billion remaining.

Stock repurchases, which limit the supply of shares, are a way to lift stock prices.

Qualcomm, which trades as QCOM on the Nasdaq exchange, rose 2 percent in after-hours trading on the news from $53.17 at market close to more than $54, then fell back to its closing price as of 5 p.m. PST.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, said the program's approval by its board of directors "provides flexibility" for potential additional repurchases in connect with the company's proposed acquisition of Netherlands-based company NXP Semiconductors. Regulators in China will determine the fate of that deal, which has been caught up in the recent trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Acquiring NXP would boost Qualcomm's position in the automotive chip market and reduce its dependence on the smartphone market.

Stock repurchases and cash dividends have returned $60 billion to Qualcomm stockholders since 2003, Mollenkopf said.

Reach reporter Sarah de Crescenzo at sarahd@sdbj.com.