PepsiCo announced today [Friday] that its Board of Directors has authorised the company to buy back up to US$5bn of common stock over the next three years. The new programme goes into effect immediately, and PepsiCo said it expects to begin buying back shares next week. PepsiCo said the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed that the repurchases would not violate the terms of the pooling-of-interests accounting the company has used for its merger with The Quaker Oats Company. The merger was completed in August 2001.