You earn the $4.00 dividend if you own the stock on or before 12/17
quantum, dividends that are 25% or higher are under different rules. the record date is just when the company looks at who is holding their stock. shareholders of a stock that pay a div less than 25% need to be on the books by the record date. with 25% or more, you don't need to own the stock on or before the date of record but the ex-div date instead. this is because a due bill is attached to stocks that are traded after the record date but before the ex-div date.
ex: i do not own BAGL yet but plan to before the ex-div date. as long as i buy 2-3 days (for settlement) before the 28th, i will be entitled to the div. however, because i bought my shares after the date of record, i will not get my div until 2-3 days after the payable date. the due bill takes the div from the previous shareholder who was on the books at the date of record and places it in my account. to simplify it....the company pays the date of record holders but if they sold their shares before the ex-date, the div payment is transferred from that seller's account to the buyer's account (me) because of the due bill. the brokerages handle due bills.
"i do not own BAGL yet but plan to before the ex-div date. as long as i buy 2-3 days (for settlement) before the 28th, i will be entitled to the div."
No, you don't have to buy 2 or 3 days before the ex-date to qualify for the dividend. You can buy as late as the 27th. The three day settlement period doesn't apply to ex-dates. They are real-time dates. The ex-date simply takes into account the settlement period required for the trade to settle by the record date for normal dividends, and in this case, by the due bill settlement date.