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Microsoft Doubles Dividend to 16 Cents

September 13, 2003|From Times Staff Reports and Bloomberg News

Microsoft Corp. on Friday doubled its cash dividend payment to shareholders, but left some investors wanting more.

The Redmond, Wash.-based firm said the dividend would total 16 cents a share for the year ending June 30, 2004, up from 8 cents a share in fiscal 2003.

The new dividend rate will cost Microsoft about $1.7 billion a year. But that will barely dent its cash hoard of $49 billion.

The software giant has said that it needed to conserve cash for potential settlements in antitrust suits. But a spokesman, explaining Friday's dividend move, said the company was "pleased with the progress in resolving some of the legal matters."

Microsoft shares rose 50 cents to $28.34 on Nasdaq. At that price the stock's annualized dividend yield is 0.6%.

Some investors said Microsoft should raise the payment further. Rick Sherlund, analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., called the increase "underwhelming."

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