I had 100 shares in my Fidelity account. I think it was in October or so I suddenly had 101 shares, and about $57 cash in lieu of fractional share. So if you had fewer than 100 shares maybe you got only the cash.
Based on similar reasoning I thought the last dividend would be flat. I was wrong - it was down 5 cents. Shortly after that I sold all of my NLY holdings at an overall break even. I still have the preferred "D" series, which yields about 8% and has a much more stable price.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, today's drop in NLY-PD is mostly attributable to the fact that it is ex-dividend of 46.875 cents. The A shares are also ex-dividend, so they should have dropped today as well.
Some people may sell their preferred shares the day before ex-dividend (and probably buy them back a day or so later) to collect the dividend earlier. Otherwise your dividend money is tied up, interest-free, until Dec. 31. NLY is notoriously slow to pay both its common and preferred dividends.
Both are quite illiquid, trading only a few thousand shares a day, so it doesn't take much to change the price. I bought the D shares because they were selling below par, while at the time the A shares were above at the time. In the extremely unlikely event that Anally decides to redeem their preferreds, I would rather realize a little profit than a loss.
A shorter answer would be: I have no clue.
I was not one of them. I finally got completely out of NLY just after the last dividend, which was disappointingly down another nickel. I held it for several years, but over that span I barely broke even. I either didn't understand their business model correctly, or maybe they stopped executing it well.
I am still invested in the D-series of Annaly preferred shares, which yield just over 8%. They are selling a little under par ($23 and change), which is about where I bought them, and the price is fairly steady. This is a safer bet than NLY itself, whose high yield has been wiped out by continually falling prices.