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While Washington Stews, You Can Cash In on the Biggest "Tax-Inversion" Deal in History

Back in June 2012, we recommended that you pick up shares of Big Pharma player Abbott Laboratories Inc. (NYSE: ABT). The reason: Abbott was planning to split in two at the end of the year, meaning folks who took our advice would end up with stakes in two companies for the price of one.

There was more than bargain-basement thinking at work here.

You see, these corporate breakups – known as spin-offs – have a habit of turning into market-beating profit plays. And the newly minted spin-off firms often end up as takeover fodder – also at big profits.

Abbott followed part of that blueprint.

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    Dividend-Paying Stocks: AOL Not the Only One to Raise Payout

    AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL) announced Monday it would divvy out $1.1 billion in cash to shareholders, joining the growing group of dividend-paying stocks - although only for brief moment.

    AOL will dole out a one-time payment of $5.15 a share to holders of record Dec. 5, for a total of $500 million given out in dividends.

    In addition to the whopping and unexpected dividend news, AOL also reported a $600 million fast-tracked share repurchase agreement with Barclays Plc (NYSE ADR: BCS).

    The move comes on the heels of a deal inked in April to sell 800 patents to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). At the time, AOL assured its plans were "to return a significant portion of the sale proceeds to shareholders."

    The move also follows a push from activist shareholder group Starboard Value LP, which had been lobbying for AOL to unload its patent cache and reward shareholders with a dividend and share repurchase program.

    Investors applauded the dividend news, sending shares of AOL up more than 3% Monday. The stock has been on a tear, climbing more than 120% year-to-date.

    While AOL has only planned a one-time dividend, many other companies in 2012 have announced regular payouts.

    Dividend-Paying Stocks: Payouts on the Rise

    A number of companies are beginning to recognize just how important dividends have become in this era of low-interest savings accounts and certificates of deposits (CDs) that offer paltry yields.

    In fact, dividends, once a trademark of stodgy blue chip companies, are emerging in full force in the tech sector.

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