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Disney Raises Annual Dividend 34% on Record Revenue

Coming off of a record year, the Walt Disney Co. has raised its annual dividend by 33.7% to $1.15 a share over 2013.

The dividend will be payable on Jan. 8, 2015, to stockholders of record on Dec. 15, 2014.

This is the 59th consecutive dividend payment to shareholders. However, it ranks as the highest such payout in recent memory.

While Disney has raised its dividends each year from 2004 to 2013, the payout was $0.86 at the end of 2013, up nearly 15% over 2012 when it was $0.75, gaining 25% over 2011. It was as low as $0.35 in 2009.

Disney isn’t known for paying out considerable dividends — the current yield is 1.2% — and ranks as the second-lowest yield among the 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average members.

Instead, Disney has focused on a formula that has returned 20% of the cash generated by the company to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks. It spent $1.5 billion on dividend checks and $6.5 billion on share buybacks, Wall Street analysts note.

Disney is firing on all cylinders, though, with the company generating $48.8 billion in sales during its most recent fiscal year, up 8% over 2013, boosting profits by 22% to $7.5 billion.

“Disney delivered the highest results in its history in fiscal 2014, reflecting the extraordinary quality of our creative content and the unparalleled strength of our brands,” said Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, the Walt Disney Co. “We achieved record revenue, net income and earnings per share for the fourth year in a row, and we are delighted to be able to increase our shareholder dividend by 34% while continuing to invest for future growth.”

Disney also has scheduled its next annual shareholders meeting to take place March 12, 2015, in San Francisco.

Disney’s stock ended the trading day Wednesday at $93.11, losing $0.36 a share.

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