Sony Sets 2-for-1 Stock Split

The move will take place in May.
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Updated from 7:56 a.m. EST

Japanese consumer electronics giant

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

announced Monday after the close of Tokyo trading a 2-for-1 share split that would take place in May in a move geared toward making the stock more accessible to investors.

Sony's shares have tripled since the start of the year to over 24,000 yen ($233). Sony's American depositary receipts surged 6 5/8, or 3%, to 243 1/8, in morning trading Monday. (Sony ended up 18 3/16, or 8%, to 254 11/16.)

Analysts said Sony's efforts to develop its Internet business as well as Internet-compatible products have powered the stock this year.

"Sony is transforming itself... They are setting themselves up so that all of their products will be Internet related," said Jeffrey Pittsburg of

Pittsburg Institutional,

a research firm. "It will be a leader everyone will watch going forward."

Pittsburg, who rates Sony a hold, said investors were starting to pay a premium on the stock, adding that it could rise to $300 in the run-up to the stock split.

The Sony share split will take place on May 19 for shareholders as of March 31, 2000. The split will double the number of outstanding Sony shares to 893.1 million.

The split takes into consideration the planned issuance of 32.98 million new Sony shares in January as part of stock swap that will result in Sony absorbing two of its publicly traded units,

Sony Music Entertainment

and

Sony Chemicals

.

Sony shares closed 2% lower at 24,300 yen on Monday, after reaching a new high during 10 sessions of gains.