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Walmart announces 3-for-1 stock split

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Dive Brief:

  • Walmart plans to conduct a three-for-one stock split, the company announced Tuesday. The move, the company said, is in part intended to keep stock purchase prices accessible for store-level employees.
  • Shareholders will receive two additional shares of common stock for each share held. The shares will be payable after the market closes on Feb. 23. The company’s stock will begin trading on a post-split basis when the market opens on Feb. 26.
  • As a result of the split, Walmart said it expects the number of shares of outstanding stock to grow from 2.7 billion to about 8.1 billion shares. Walmart’s stock opened at $167.80 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, just below a recent high of $169.94 in November.

Dive Insight:

Walmart has offered an employee stock purchase plan for almost 30 years. The company said more than 400,000 of its employees currently participate. The plan allows eligible associates to buy stock through payroll deductions. Walmart provides a 15% company match on the first $1,800 each year.

The most recent announcement, part of the company’s “ongoing review of optimal trading and spread levels,” seeks to make the plan even more accessible. 

“Sam Walton believed it was important to keep our share price in a range where purchasing whole shares, rather than fractions, was accessible to all of our associates,” CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. “Given our growth and our plans for the future, we felt it was a good time to split the stock and encourage our associates to participate in the years to come.”

The upcoming stock split will be Walmart’s 12th. Its most recent two-for-one stock split was in 1999. Twenty-five years ago, the share market price on the split date was $89.75, according to the company.

In 1970, about one year after incorporation, Walmart went public with 300,000 shares of stock at $16.50 per share. 

Earlier this week, the company said $20,000 in annual stock grants would become part of the overall compensation packages for managers of its Supercenter stores in the U.S. With the stock grants, an average base salary of $128,000 and a potential for a yearly bonus up to 200% of their salary, managers of Walmart’s largest stores could earn over $400,000 annually.

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