"The ex-date rules are different."
No, they're not. The distribution ex-date rules are exactly the same as for publicly traded corporations.
better_yeti is right: Don't assume a 50/50 split. The split in value (and therefor the number of shares spun off per AA share) will be determined by the relative value of each, and the odds of it being 50/50 are very long.
Unless AA does a reverse split at the same time the spinoff is executed, 1000 shares of AA will stay 1000 shares of AA. The price of AA will be adjusted down by the value of the spinoff shares. The value of the spinoff shares will be established by trading in the when-issued market for a week or two before the spinoff is effected.
"Will current AA shareholders get shares in both companies when split"
"or are current shares being assigned to one or the other?"
No, spinoffs don't work that way.
That's the easy part. When the time comes for it to happen, the spinoff (that's what a split into two is) dates will have this board turned inside out with confusion because the ex-date for the spinoff will be after the record date, not before it as with cash dividends, and the ex-date will also be after the payment date. Sounds confusing already, doesn't it? But that's the way spinoffs are handled by the stock exchanges, so if you study up ahead of time on how they work you won't be bogged down by the confusion. A google search for "deferred ex-date" will bring up some good explanations.
The big deal is that although the net asset value of the company will drop on the ex-date by the exact amount of the cash dividend being paid, enough investors mistakenly think that the money is dropped from heaven, or that it somehow won't reduce the company's net asset value, or that it means more big special dividends will be coming in the future, so they bid up the price in anticipation of getting the big payout, which results in a sort of self-fulfilling delusion. The reality of the stock price almost always (not always, but almost) returning to the pre-hysteria level, minus the amount of the dividend, is ignored until it happens, which, by then, is of course too late. In the fairly rare cases where a stock price stays up to the hysteria level (minus the amount of the dividend itself), those fevered investors crow about how smart they are, yet in the majority of cases, where the stock price returns to the pre-hysteria level, minus the amount of the dividend (or even lower), the ones who bid up the stock price on the news of the big dividend never post on the message board again. (But then they do it all over again on the next stock that pays a big special dividend.)
It is sometimes possible to take advantage of the irrational runup in price over a special dividend, but not very often.
That's all there is to the big deal over a special dividend.
"I think it too much to ask that FULT share what is going on with stockholders."
So you're saying that lack of communication to shareholders is not their fult?
"The distribution date of the PJT shares are on 10/1/15 at 12:01AM ET for those who hold shares as of 5:00PM ET on 9/22/15 according to the communication sent out by BX to its shareholders."
Yeah, they boned their wording on that. It's not accurate. Their statement, "Class A common stock of PJT will begin “regular way” trading on October 1, 2015, at which time “regular way” trading in Blackstone common units will reflect Blackstone’s distribution of its Class A common stock of PJT," directly conflicts with their following statement, "Unitholders who sell their Blackstone common units in the “regular way” market on or before the distribution date will also be selling their right to receive the distribution of shares of Class A common stock of PJT."
The second statement is true; the first is not. Because of stock exchange rules governing spinofffs, the payment of the spinoff shares is actually after the close of after-hours trading on October 1, not one minute after midnight. And the share price of BX will not reflect the distribution until the open of trading on October 2, not the first.
Spinoffs follow specific rules and the company's update got them screwed up.
"My understanding is the 18 is the ex-date for owning BX for the spin off shares"
No, that's not right. If this was to be a cash distribution, then the 18th would be the ex-date, but spinoffs don't follow cash dividend rules. The ex-date for the PJT shares is October 2.
The language used in communicating the relevant dates for spinoffs is traditionally opaque, but it's there in the company's September 11 update: "Unitholders who sell their Blackstone common units in the “regular way” market on or before the distribution date will also be selling their right to receive the distribution of shares of Class A common stock of PJT."
With stock spinoffs, the ex-date is the first business day after the distribution date. With the distribution date being October 1, that makes the ex-date October 2. September 18 was when the when-issued shares were expected to begin trading. It's not the September 18 trading that will establish the price of PJT-WI for the purpose of adjusting the BX price on October 2, it is the closing price of PJT-WI on October 1 that will be used. The week of when-issued trading will be used to stabilize the price before the adjustment of the BX share price on October 2. When-issued trading very often starts off very slow, with wide spreads. A week or two of when-issued trading allows the price to stabilize and the spreads tighten up.
"Im not sure why anyone lists the record date"
Because they're not required to. Companies don't often offer up more information than they are required to, and they're not required to announce the ex-date because companies don't establish ex-dates; the stock exchanges do that. Once in awhile a company will announce the ex-date, and in rare cases they'll get it wrong, which probably keeps them from ever announcing another ex-date.
No, actually you've seen only one ex-date, and that's the 10th. The 14th is the record date.
No, you will not get the dividend if you buy today. The ex-date is the first date a stock trades without the right to the dividend. Buying a stock just to a get a dividend is pointless anyway. Did you notice that the stock closed yesterday at 31.10, and that the closing price of 31.10 was adjusted down this morning to 30.53 to account for the dividend not being available to buyers today? So instead of being down (at this moment) nine cents, as the quote shows, it's actually down 66 cents, meaning that today it's selling at a better price than it was yesterday when it closed at 31.10, even though new buyers don't get the dividend.
I think you're probably right about your broker making a mistake and falsely blaming the company. I used to have monthly dividend problems (normal dividends; not using the 25% rule) from several companies with a certain brokerage and they would give me all kinds of ridiculous excuses that weren't true. I knew they weren't true because I tracked down phone numbers for the transfer agents and they were able to confirm payment, on time, every time, to the broker's clearing house. (After transferring the dividend funds to its transfer agent, a dividend paying company is out of the loop. The idea that they can ask to delay payment after the fact is totally bogus; the money has already left the company's account.) The brokerage dividend monkeys were poorly trained, totally confused, and were grasping at straws to blame anyone but themselves. They also had a very high turnover rate, which perpetuated the problems.