shares rallied Thursday on above-average volume after the specialty finance company announced a plan to spin off its U.S. and U.K. micro-loan businesses.
CompuCredit said it is considering a tax-free spin-off of its U.S. and U.K. micro-loan businesses into a publicly traded company called
Purpose Financial Holdings
. The spin-off would create two stand-alone, publicly-traded companies, with CompuCredit to provide credit and related financial services and products to the subprime credit market and Purpose Financial to engage in marketing, servicing and originating small-balance, short-term loans.
The businesses to be evaluated for the spinoff reported revenue of roughly $98.4 million and $107.2 million in the first nine months of the year and all of 2008, respectively, CompuCredit said.
CompuCredit also declared a dividend of 50 cents per share payable to holders of record as of the close of trading on Dec. 31. The dividend payment will entitle convertible note holders to convert their notes and receive, using the stock's closing price Wednesday, either approximately $74.79 or approximately $61.46 for each $1,000 face amount of notes, depending upon which series is held.
After being halted for the news, shares of CompuCredit surged 74 cents, or 28.1%, to $3.37. Earlier in the session, the stock touched an intraday high of $3.89. More than 625,000 shares changed hands by 12:15 p.m. EST Thursday, compared to the stock's 50-day average daily volume of 159,000, according to the
CompuCredit has a 13.4 million-share float with a massive short interest float of 42.8% as of Nov. 13, according to Yahoo! Finance. Insiders hold 48.1% of the company's shares, with another 29% owned by institutions.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York
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