Abbott's board approves pharma split

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Abbott’s board of directors has approved the separation of its research-based pharmaceuticals business, which will be known as AbbVie, and declared a special dividend distribution of all of the outstanding shares of AbbVie common stock.

For every one share of Abbott common shares held, Abbott shareholders will receive one share of AbbVie common stock. No fractional shares of AbbVie will be issued, according to the Abbott Park, Ill.-based company. Shareholders will receive cash in lieu of fractional shares. The special dividend distribution is expected to be paid on Jan. 1, 2013, to Abbott shareholders of record as of the close of business on Dec. 12.

The distribution of AbbVie common stock will complete the separation of the research-based pharmaceuticals business from Abbott. After the distribution, AbbVie will be an independent, publicly traded company, and Abbott will retain no ownership interest. AbbVie common stock is expected to begin trading on Jan. 2, 2013, on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol ABBV. Abbott will continue to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol ABT.