Oracle Corp. accelerated dividend payments for its next three quarters, joining a list of companies that have moved up payouts ahead of a potential U.S. tax increase next year.
The world’s largest supplier of database software said it will pay one dividend of 18 cents a share, instead of three separate 6 cent-a-share payments for its fiscal second, third and fourth quarters of 2013. Oracle will issue the dividend on Dec. 21 to stockholders of record on Dec. 14, the Redwood Shores, California-based company said yesterday in a statement.
Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chief executive officer and its largest shareholder, didn’t participate in the deliberation or vote, the company said. The dividends would otherwise have been paid in calendar 2013, it said.
Oracle, which is also the second-biggest maker of business management applications, joins more than three dozen companies that have announced plans to pay special dividends ahead of a potential rise in taxes next year related to the so-called fiscal cliff. Costco Wholesale Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Brown-Forman Corp. -- the maker of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Finlandia vodka -- have announced plans to pay special dividends in recent weeks.
Payouts this year are subject to a 15 percent U.S. levy that may rise to as high as 43.4 percent if lawmakers allow $600 billion of scheduled tax increases and spending cuts to take effect in 2013. Rates may also rise if Congress amends the tax code to avoid the cliff.
Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger declined to comment on whether the company’s dividend action was related to the potential tax increases.
The company’s shares rose less than 1 percent to $32.38 at today’s close in New York. The stock has gained 26 percent this year.