Dividend Hikes: Microsoft

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Microsoft (MSFT) said it will increase its quarterly dividend by 23%, although the stock was trading lower in Wednesday's premarket session on the announcement.

Microsoft said it will raise its quarterly dividend to 16 cents a share from 13 cents, the first time the software maker has raised the dividend in two years. Based on the software maker's current market value, the new dividend rate translates into an annual dividend yield of 2.5%.

In a research note Wednesday, Oppenheimer notes that Wall Street's expectations outpaced the actual dividend increase, and the firm says Microsoft shares may underperform the overall tech sector because of the investor disappointment. Shares of Microsoft are down 1.2% to $24.85 in Wednesday's premarket session.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Microsoft plans to sell 3-, 5-, 10- and 30-year bonds as soon as today, citing a person familiar with the transaction. Last week, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft would sell debt this year to pay for dividends and share repurchases, as much of its cash is held overseas.

In other dividend news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals ( VRX) said it anticipates declaring a special one-time cash dividend of $16.77 per share to shareholders on Sept. 27 in connection with its merger agreement with Biovail ( BVF).

Valeant shares are up 1.5% to $65 ahead of Wednesday's opening bell.

Elsewhere, QAD ( QADI) said that under its proposed recapitalization plan, holders of Class A common stock will be entitled to receive a dividend equal to 120% of any dividend payable on Class B common stock.

Under QAD's proposed recapitalization plan, two classes of common stock would be established: Class A common stock with 1/20th of one vote per share and Class B common stock with one vote per share. The company said the plan would allow it greater flexibility to issue Class A common stock in the future.

QAD shares closed Tuesday at $4.52.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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