(Bloomberg) -- Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.’s top boss says buying back shares make more sense than takeovers — a view that underpins the US steelmaker’s decision to repurchase as much as $1.5 billion in stock.

“Buying our own stock is clearly a better use of capital than any M&A opportunities at current valuations — so that’s our primary focus,” Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves said Monday in the company’s first-quarter earnings statement.

The CEO’s comment comes about fourth months after Cliffs lost out in a bidding war for United States Steel Corp. to Nippon Steel Corp. Goncalves has been a vocal critic of the $14.1 billion takeover of the iconic American steelmaker by a Japanese company since then, calling it a severe miscalculation. 

Read More: Cliffs CEO Lashes Out Over Losing US Steel Deal to Nippon

Shares of Cliffs were down 2.5% at 4:15 p.m. in after-market trading in New York after reporting first-quarter results that missed analysts’ estimates. The Cleveland-based company agreed to renew its buyback program after ending its previous plan to repurchase up to $1 billion in shares.

--With assistance from Yvonne Yue Li.

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