Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle Corp.
Shares of Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ:ORCL) eased slightly early Tuesday despite the company's plans to pay three quarters worth of dividends this month as a means to avoid higher taxes for shareholders.
In early trading, shares of the Redwood Shores, Calif., database giant fell 3 cents to $32.28. They've risen 26 percent in 2012.
Oracle said it would pay what it claims is an “accelerated dividend" of 18 cents a share on Dec. 21 for the second, third and fourth quarters of its fiscal 2013. The current quarterly dividend is 6 cents a share. The company is scheduled to report second-quarter results on Dec. 18.
The total payout will be about $870 million, including about $199 million to founding CEO Larry Ellison, who owns about a quarter of the outstanding shares. Oracle said Ellison, also the chairman and a company director, didn't participate in the decision.
In a statement as well as in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Oracle didn't offer an explanation. But current negotiations in Washington regarding the “fiscal cliff” suggest taxes on dividend income as well as capital gains may be increased next year.
Oracle reported cash and investments exceeding $31.5 billion as of Aug. 31.
To date, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), the No. 1 retailer, and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), the global casino operator, have announced similar accelerated dividend payments.
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