The board of directors of Union Pacific Corp., which has extensive operations in Utah, has authorized a major stock repurchase plan along with the sale of its real estate subsidiary, Union Pacific Realty Co.

Dew Lewis, U.P. chief executive officer, said the actions are designed to enhance shareholder value."We believe the purchase of U.P. common stock represents an attractive investment. In addition, our plan to dispose of U.P. Realty is part of our continuing effort to realize the intrinsic value of the company's diversified businesses and focus our resources on the company's remaining businesses," Lewis said.

Company officials started a Dutch auction cash self-tender offer for up to 14.5 million shares of common stock. After the tender offer expires, and depending upon market conditions and other factors, the company may repurchase in open market or other transactions up to $528 million of additional shares under its previously approved board authorization.

Under the auction offer, each U.P. common shareholder will be invited to tender shares at prices specified by the shareholder, ranging from $66 to $73 per share. The company will select a purchase price and buy at that price up to 14.5 million shares tendered at or below that price.