Wells Fargo Increases Quarterly Dividend 14% to 25 Cents

Wells Fargo & Co., the bank that counts billionaire Warren Buffett’s company as its largest shareholder, raised its quarterly dividend by 14 percent after reporting a record profit for 2012.

The 3-cent increase brings the payout to 25 cents, the San Francisco-based company said today in a statement. Investors who own the stock as of Feb. 1 will be paid on March 1.

Among them is Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha, Nebraska-based insurer and investment company that holds a stake of about 8 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The higher dividend means another $50.7 million annually for Berkshire, based on the 422.5 million-share stake listed as of Sept. 30. The lender’s stock yields about 2.9 percent.

Wells Fargo said the new dividend was part of the bank’s 2012 capital plan, which passed Federal Reserve review last year. U.S. banks this month are asking the Fed to approve a new round of dividend increases and share buybacks, with Wells Fargo’s plan submitted Jan. 4, the bank said.

Led by John Stumpf, Wells Fargo is the biggest U.S. home lender and the leader by stock-market value. The company reported a record profit for 2012, with net income rising 19 percent to $18.9 billion.

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