Could a New CEO Lead to a Stock Split at Amazon?
Could a new CEO deliver a long-awaited stock split at
(ticker: AMZN), whose shares finished Monday at $3,699.82, up 1.2%, hasn’t split its stock since 1999 and now has the second- highest priced stock in the S&P 500 index, behind only home builder
(NVR) at $5,040.
took over as CEO in early July from founder
who remains chairman. Bezos is the largest shareholder, with effective control of the e-commerce and cloud computing giant.
Another high-profile split candidate is Google parent
whose shares as measured by its nonvoting stock (GOOG) are up 58% this year to $2,792.89. Alphabet reports second-quarter results Tuesday.
Bezos presumably wasn’t interested in splitting the shares or else it would have happened. The company reports its second-quarter results on Thursday.
an Evercore ISI analyst, doesn’t think an Amazon or Alphabet split will happen soon, telling Barron’s in an email that he hasn’t heard either company discuss the idea.
Mahaney is more focused on a potential dividend at Alphabet, which doesn’t pay one, and stock buybacks at Amazon, which is the only one of the big five tech companies that hasn’t repurchase shares in recent years. The other four are
((MSFT)), Alphabet, and
(FB). He thinks both an Alphabet dividend and a large Amazon buyback are good bets over the next two to three years. Amazon’s net cash position, now over $40 billion, is expected to swell in the coming years.
Many retail investors would like to see an Amazon split of at least 10 for one to make the stock more affordable. A lot of individual investors don’t have the nearly $3,700 for a single Amazon share or won’t buy Amazon because it would be too large a portion of their portfolios at its current price.
(SCHW) offers fractional shares of Amazon and other stocks in the S&P 500 through a product called Stock Slices but not all brokerage firms have a similar product.
A split also can be a favorable indicator by management, a view espoused by Gary Black, a former CEO of Janus and Aegon Asset Management U.S. who has a Twitter following of more than 81,000, helped by his takes on Tesla ((TSLA)). Black’s view is that a split can be a bullish tell by corporate brass.
Alphabet hasn’t split its shares since 2014, when it distributed nonvoting stock (GOOG) as a dividend to both holders of its voting stock (GOOGL) and supervoting stock, which is largely in the hands of founders
The distribution amounted to a stock split.
A stock split by either Amazon or Alphabet could pave the way for inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow has an old-fashioned price weighting, meaning that high-price issues dominate.
(UNH), which has the highest price among the 30 Dow components at $413.72, has the index’s largest weighting at nearly 8% according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Amazon and Alphabet would overwhelm the other Dow components based on their current prices. It likely would take at least a 10-for-one split by either company to make them Dow eligible.
Write to Andrew Bary at [email protected]