DULLES, Va. -- America Online Inc., the largest Internet service, said yesterday that it will split its stock two for one, its second split this year and its fourth in the past two years, sending its shares higher after U.S. markets closed.
America Online said shareholders of record on Nov. 8 will receive an additional share on Nov. 22. After the split, America Online will have about 2.2 billion shares outstanding.
AOL shares rose $2.875 to $122.375 on the New York Stock Exchange. The news was released after the 4 p.m. close of trading, and shares surged to as much as $134 on the MarketXT electronic trading system.
America Online is one of the best-performing stocks in the Internet industry, boasting a market value of $140 billion, as its shares have soared almost 10-fold in the past two years and quadrupled this year.
"We are committed to making ownership of our company accessible to the average investor," Chairman and Chief Executive Steve Case said. "We hope this latest split will make it possible for even more people to share in the promising growth of our company and our industry."
The Virginia company, which many investors consider to be synonymous with the Internet, was added to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in December.
The company's stock split is AOL's seventh since it went public on March 19, 1992.