From first-hand experience, companies sometimes prefer to issue dividends rather than buy back stock when insiders hold large numbers of shares. Issuing a dividend allows them to suck the profits out of the company and into their own pockets as cash and (a) at a tax rate better than if they simply gave themselves bonuses (in most countries), (b) in a way that is perfectly legal, and (c) which the other shareholders can't sue them for (and may even thank them). If they did a share buy-back, yes, their shares would probably be worth more on paper but they would only be able to realize the gain by selling, which they don't want to do because it would mean loss of control and a reduced share of the pie when they sell the company. Furthermore doing a share-buyback does not, by any means, guarantee that the shares will rise in proportion to the capital expended in the buyback. It's vague and subject to the uncertainties of the market, business conditions, etc. But a dividend goes straight into their bank accounts and they like that. They may invest the money or just intend to use it for some personal project.
In any case, following the money often reveals the answer.