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In the news: Oracle bumps up dividends, earnings from Autozone and Toll Brothers and a medical merger

In the news this morning, Oracle is accelerating three quarter's worth of dividends, Autozone reports inline earnings, but sales are weak, Toll Brothers beats earnings estimates with the help of a big tax benefit and Baxter International adds to its dialysis offerings.

Add Oracle Corp. (ORCL) to the list of companies accelerating dividend payouts in order to put money in shareholders' hands ahead of the Fiscal Cliff. The company will pay its second, third and fourth quarter dividends on Dec. 21. Larry Ellison, the company's CEO and largest shareholder did not vote on the matter. Ellison stands to receive about $198.9 million from the payout.

Walt Disney Co.
Entertainment giant Walt Disney Co. (DIS) lost an appeal in a court case against the creators of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Courts have awarded the show's creator, Celador International, $319 million after the company claimed Disney set up multiple shady deals that prevented Celador from collecting hundreds of millions in expected revenues.

The company reported fiscal-first quarter profit of $5.41 per share, up from $4.68 per share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was $1.99 billion, compared to $1.92 billion in the year-ago period. Margins widened to 51.8% from 51.1%. Analysts had expected Autozone (AZO) to earn $5.41 per share on revenue of $2.02 billion. The company also said it had purchased the assets and some liabilities of AutoAnything, but did not disclose the terms of the deal.

Toll Brothers
The homebuilder reported fiscal fourth quarter earnings of $411 million or $2.35 per share on revenues of $632.8 million. Toll Brother's (TOL) results included a net tax benefit of $350.7 million. Analysts had expected the company to earn 25 cents per share on revenue of $5.65.1 million.

Baxter International
The medical device company plans to buy Gambro AB for about $4 billion. Gambro is a Swedish firm that makes dialysis products that Baxter (BAX) believes will complement its existing home-dialysis offerings.

Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.