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Expedia Declares Special Dividend Ahead of Possible Tax Increase

Expedia Inc., an online travel services provider, will pay a special dividend of 52 cents a share, joining a growing list of companies planning payouts ahead of a possible increase in U.S. taxes in the coming year.

The dividend will be paid on Dec. 28 to shareholders of record on Dec. 17, Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia said today in a statement.

Expedia follows more than three dozen other companies that have announced plans to pay special dividends before a potential rise in taxes next year related to what’s known as the fiscal cliff. Oracle Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp., Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Brown-Forman Corp. -- the maker of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Finlandia vodka -- have said recently that they’ll pay special or accelerated dividends.

Washington Post Co. also announced plans today for an accelerated dividend. The Washington-based owner of the namesake newspaper will pay an accelerated dividend of $9.80 a share in lieu of the quarterly dividends it would have paid in 2013. The annual dividend will be unchanged from the rate in 2012, the company said in a statement.

Expedia plans to pay a regular quarterly cash dividend of 13 cents a share today for shareholders of record on Nov. 16.

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.

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