"if you own the stock at the end of business on 11/16 you get the divy"
No. This dividend doesn't follow normal dividend date rules. You have to be holding the stock at the close of trading on Dec 31 to receive the dividend.
"the stock will open up 2.76 lower on the 17th"
No. The stock price adjusts on the ex-date, not the day after the record date. You are confusing individual stocks with mutual funds. Only with mutual funds is the ex-date the first day after the record date. With individual stocks the ex-date is usually two trading days before the record date. In rare circumstances, which this one is, the ex-date is the first trading day after the distribution date, which, for this dividend, is January 4, 2016.
"you will get the money on the open on 11/17"
No. The payment date is December 31, not November 17.
"When is the last day you can get shares and be qualified for the dividend?"
Believe it or not, December 31, 2015 is the last day to buy the stock and qualify for the dividend. Read my next posts for an explanation.
"BBEP website states ex-dividend date on November 09 this month"
No, it doesn't. On the Distribution History page it lists the ex-date as November 5. Immediately to the right of that it lists November 9 as the record date.
"Remember the purchase has to clear in order to get the upcoming dividend, so the key purchase date is 11/5, not 11/9"
Key for what? A purchase on 11-5 does not qualify for the dividend. The last day to buy and qualify for the dividend is today, the 4th, not tomorrow, the 5th.
Are you clairvoyant? They haven't declared any of next year's dividends, yet you have specific dates for the November 2016 dividend. Can you see stock prices that far in advance too?
I don't know whether it is or isn't, but in any case, when-issued trading has another week to run, so its price has plenty of time to change. When-issued trading usually begins with absurdly wide spreads and equally ridiculous low volume, but for a good reason -- traders are feeling each other out to establish a fair price (which is the most important purpose of when-issued trading). As WI trading gets closer to the distribution date, volume usually increases and spreads narrow. If spreads don't narrow, well, that's not a good sign.
You don't need to own a stock before the declaration date to qualify for a dividend. You need buy it no later than the last trading day before the ex-date and hold it only until the open of trading on the ex-date. So you need own it only over night. But because the price of almost all stocks adjust down by about the amount of the dividend on the ex-date, it's usually pointless to buy a stock just to get the dividend.
"Need to own it from the day prior to ex div. date through the dividend date."
No, it's not necessary to own a stock through the dividend date, it's only necessary to own it until the opening of trading on the ex-date.
"I see a lot of posts saying that another poster is a short. What's the point?"
You don't remember what it's like to be eight years old, do you?
If you own 1000 shares of AA at the time of the spinoff, you will own 1000 shares of AA after the spinoff, plus however many spinoff shares that are issued. On the ex-date of the spinoff distribution, the price of AA will be reduced by the proportional amount of the value of the the spinoff company, so as of the open of trading on the ex date, the value of the stock you own in both companies will be equal to the closing price of AA the previous day. Once trading of both stocks begins on the ex-date, the combined value may be less or may be more.
The value of the spinoff shares that is deducted from the price of AA on the ex-date will have been determined by about two weeks of the new company trading on the when-issued market. So the whole process happens in an orderly and predictable manner. The only thing that isn't predictable, of course, are the prices of each stock.
The ex-date this time is 11-4. Because it is the stock exchange that sets ex-dates, not companies, the majority of companies never include the ex-date in their dividend declarations or on their websites. It's a matter of "don't disclose anything you're not required to."
The company was right when it said the ex-date is usually a couple days before the record date, the key word being "usually." November is a month when ex-dates for three record dates are not two trading days before the date of record, but three. In November, record dates of the 11th, 12th, and 13th have ex-dates three business days before the record dates. All other record dates in November have ex-dates two business days before the record dates. Every year some company, thinking it's being helpful, announces the ex date for a dividend with a record date on one of those three days, thinking it's two business days before the record date, and end up being wrong.
"So the special dividend ... is actually an award on top of whatever I have currently invested in the stock?"
No, it comes off the stock price, so you're not ahead in any way for receiving it. It's not an award of a bonus of any kind. You either have a stock worth, say, forty bucks and no cash in hand, or you have a stock worth 29.50 and 10.50 in cash in hand. Where's the bonus?
"I'm currently inquiring if the ex-dividend and the record date are the same?"
No, they're not the same, and they're not interchangeable. To make things even more confusing, the ex-date is not the same for spinoffs as it is for normal cash dividends. If you would do a google search for "deferred ex-date" and click on the first result, you'll find probably the best explanation of how dividend dates work. The first part explains record and ex-dates for normal dividends, and the last part, beginning with "Dividends of 25% or more of a stock's price," explains how the record and ex-dates work for spinoffs, because spinoff ex-dates work the same as do ex-dates for cash dividends of 25% or more of a stock's price. So do stock splits.
You'll also learn about due bills. That's the key to having the ex-date after the distribution date.
If you read up on how it all works, you'll be able to see the process in action when the CSC spinoff starts and you won't be befuddled by it. An awful lot of people on the Yahoo boards always are. They never consider the due bills (because they've never heard of them) and without understanding the due bill process, the spinoff dates remain a confusing mystery.
"Or will ... the special dividend will get shoved in there to help make up the difference?"
There is no difference to be made up. CSC shareholders will own the exact same thing immediately after the spinoff as they will immediately before it, the only difference being that they will hold two stocks instead of one. There's no obligation or reason to make a spinoff a 50-50 split of assets.
The special dividend has nothing to do with the spinoff itself. For whatever reason, the company decided it doesn't need all the cash on hand, so will give a bunch of it to shareholders. If it didn't give the $10.50 to shareholders, the CSC stock price wouldn't adjust down 10.50 on the ex-date, so it all comes out even, no matter which way it went.