Editor's Note: As this is a dividend larger than 25% of the market cap, the ex-dividend date is the day after the payment date. If shareholders still have questions, they should contact OXPS directly for clarification on the special dividend dates.
One of the more memorable special dividends in recent memory was the special dividend Microsoft
optionsXpress' situation is slightly different, with interest rates so low and taxes on dividends expected to rise, optionsXpress raised $120 million in debt at a low variable rate. It is using that cash and the $269 million in cash on its balance sheet to pay out the dividend. This is a great for two reasons. One, it signals the company believes it is strong enough to take on debt to pay out a large dividend. Second, it shows management is savvy enough to take advantage of the absurdly low interest rates out there today.
optionsXpress isn't the only company to have recently announced paying out a special dividend. Other companies that announced special dividends recently which you can still buy into include:
China Digital TV
While none of these are recommendations they are a good place to look. Companies paying special dividends believe they will do well in the future, and by collecting the special dividend you have the opportunity to reinvest in the business at a lower price or keep the cash to invest when bad times come around.