The (Liberal?) Washington Post Co. Will Pay 2013 Dividends In 2012 to Spare Investors from Tax Hikes

AP reports “The Washington Post Co. will pay its 2013 dividends before the end of this year to try to spare investors from anticipated tax increases.” A  dividend of $9.80 per share is payable December 27 to shareholders of record instead of quarterly dividends next year.

Guess who benefits? The nation's leading billionaire advocate of tax hikes: "The Washington Post's dividend payment also stands to benefit those with a significant stake in the company, such as Warren Buffett's firm Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire is its largest shareholder with an estimated 1.7 million shares, which means it could get a roughly $17 million dividend payment." Back on November 27, Post reporter Jia Lynn Yang was reporting that this was the kind of greedy tactic a self-dealing right-winger like Sheldon Adelson might do:

The biggest beneficiaries at many of these companies will be the families and managers who run them.

A new report, also from Markit, shows that more than half the firms giving one-time payouts next month have inside ownership greater than 25 percent of the company’s shares. Of the 74 companies examined by Markit, an average of 30 percent of the shares were owned by insiders.

Las Vegas Sands said Monday that it will pay $2.75 a share, a total of $2.26 billion, next month. Roughly half the stock is owned by chief executive Sheldon Adelson and his wife.

But guess what? Donald Graham owns roughly one million shares of Class A and 100,000 shares of Class B stock in the Post Company. This news couldn't be found in my Saturday edition of The Washington Post. (The AP story is on the Post website, but you'd need the search engine to find it.)

The move comes after The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the Washington Post will join other major national newspapers by installing a paywall and charging readers for online access in 2013 to offset tumbling ad sales.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis