Dick's, MSA to pay special dividend

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Dick's Sporting Goods and MSA have joined the growing ranks of companies declaring special dividends or accelerating payment of them in anticipation of higher tax rates in 2013.

The Findlay retailer said Wednesday it will pay a $2 special dividend Dec. 28 to investors who own its common and Class B common shares as of Dec. 17. Dick's put the price tag on the dividend at $254 million.

MSA, a Cranberry safety products company, said Tuesday it will pay a 28 cent-per-share special dividend Dec. 28 to shareholders of record Dec. 14.

Dividend income has been taxed at a maximum rate of 15 percent since 2003, a treatment scheduled to expire along with other Bush-era tax breaks at the end of the year. Many observers expect the rate to go up as the result of White House and Congressional negotiations over the budget crisis.

A similar spate of special dividends were paid in 2010 when the tax breaks were extended for another two years. Then and now, many of the companies making the extra payouts were closely controlled by family members and other insiders.

Dick's Chairman and CEO Edward W. Stack owned 22.7 million shares of the company's stock as of the retailer's most recent proxy statement. Based on that, he would collect $45.4 million, before taxes, from the special dividend.

Last week, Pittsburgh food company H.J. Heinz said it would shift payment of its 51.5-cent quarterly dividend to Dec. 26 from January. Other local companies that have issued special year-end dividends include Federated Investors, Commercial National Financial and Mastech Holdings.

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Len Boselovic: lboselovic@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1941.


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