Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the casino company led by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, voted a special dividend that will pay its controlling shareholder about $1.2 billion before an expected increase in federal taxes.
The Las Vegas-based company will pay the $2.75-a-share dividend, its first such distribution, on Dec. 18 to investors of record on Dec. 10, according to a statement yesterday. This month, the company also raised its regular annual dividend by 40 percent to $1.40 a share. The stock rose the most since July.
With about 437 million shares of Las Vegas Sands, or around 52 percent of the stock, according to an April regulatory filing, Adelson, 79, and his wife, Miriam, will collect $1.2 billion from the special dividend and another $611 million annually. The special dividend takes effect before an expected increase in dividend taxes from the current 15 percent.
“We have every intention of increasing the dividend in the years ahead as our business and cash flows continue to grow,” Adelson said on a Nov. 1 conference call. “I can only say one thing about that: ‘Go Dividend.’”
Companies are paying special dividends at four times the pace of last year as Congress is poised to let the tax on dividends rise next year. Sands rival Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) declared a $7.50-a-share payout and a doubling of its quarterly dividend to $1 a share last month.
Brown-Forman Corp. (BF/A), the owner of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, said today it will pay a $4-a-share special payment on Dec. 27 to shareholders as of Dec. 12. The company cited “the uncertainty surrounding future dividend tax rates.”
Based on proxy filings, Brown family members who own 58.5 million Class A voting shares will receive approximately $234 million from the dividend.
From the end of September through yesterday, 68 companies in the Russell 3000 stock index declared a one-time cash payment to shareholders, up from about 15 in the year-earlier quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. More than a dozen said they acted because of a pending dividend-tax increase.
Las Vegas Sands rose 5.3 percent to $46.37 at the close in New York, the most since July 19. The stock has advanced 8.5 percent this year. Brown Forman Class A rose 2.2 percent to $66.28 and is up 25 percent in 2012.
The Adelsons were the largest individual U.S. campaign donors this year with $54 million in spending, all of it to Republican causes, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
Sheldon Adelson is chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands. His wife, a physician, is founder of the Adelson Clinic, with locations in Las Vegas and Tel Aviv.
Adelson is the world’s 25th-richest individual, with a fortune estimated at $20.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
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