Amazon board approves 20-for-1 stock split, first since before dotcom bust

(GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Amazon’s board has approved the company’s first stock split in more than two decades.

Subject to shareholder approval, the 20-for-1 split would revalue Amazon’s individual stocks, aiming to make them more affordable for individual investors, taking into account the long-term rise in the company’s stock price.

The change will take effect in June if shareholders approve the split at the company’s annual meeting in May.

Amazon’s board has also authorized a repurchase of up to $10 billion of its common stock. The new authorization replaces a previous $5 billion buyback plan, approved in 2016. Amazon bought back $2.12 billion of its shares under that earlier plan.

The company has split its stock three times before, all in the late 1990s, prior to the dotcom crisis: a 2-for-1 split in June 1998; a 3-for-1 split in January 1999; and a 2-for-1 split in September 1999.

Amazon’s stock price is up from $62.44 after the latest split to close at $2,785.58 on Wednesday.

The announcement follows a similar move by Google parent company Alphabet, which was announced in February.

“This split would give our employees more flexibility in managing their equity in Amazon and make the stock price more accessible to people looking to invest in the company,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Amazon offers limited inventory units as part of its standard pay package for business and technical workers. In February, Amazon announced an increase in the maximum base salary to $350,000, from $160,000 previously, as part of a general increase in total compensation designed to recruit top talent and retain existing employees.

More details from an Amazon SEC filing: “Subject to shareholder approval of the amendment, at the close of trading on May 27, 2022, each registered shareholder of the company will have 19 additional shares for each share that is registered in the company as of that date.” their accounts will appear on or about June 3, 2022. Trading is expected to begin on a split-adjusted basis on June 6, 2022.”

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