It has been the practice of The Walt Disney Company to increase its reward its shareholders the past few years, and fiscal 2015 will be no exception. The dividend increase beat the expectations of at least one close observer.
The new dividend is now close to being on par with Disney’s peer group, according to Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker.
The new annual dividend will be $1.15 per share, an increase of 34%. Wells Fargo had been anticipating a 20% increase.
It will be distributed 1/8/15, to shareholders of record as of 12/15/14.
It follows later year increases of 14% in 2011, 50% in 2012, 25% in 2013 and 15% in 2014.
The distribution is expected to amount to $2B, or about 30% of Disney’s $6.6B in free cash flow.
The dividend yield, based on the stock’s 12/3/14 closing price, is now 1.2%, just a fraction below the peer group average of 1.3%.