The stock is down about 3% in initial trading today following the company’s decision to pay investors a $1 a share dividend, worth about $450M, down from $2 it awarded last year. Dish Network said that it will pay the cash dividend on December 28 to shareholders of record as of December 14. Many investors thought Dish would offer a lot more at time when many companies are paying special dividends: Investors fear that such payments will be hit with higher taxes in 2013 if lawmakers can’t avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of tax hikes and budget cuts scheduled to hit in January. Indeed, Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker says that some Dish investors hoped for as much as $5 a share. She says Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen probably held back because he doesn’t know the requirements the FCC will apply to some wireless spectrum that the satellite company is acquiring. “Our view — had the [rules] been approved, the dividend would have been higher,” she says.
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