Why Apple Is Selling Billions in Debt Again

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Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) is not a company that is exactly hurting for cash these days. After all, it just indicated that its latest cash balance was roughly $178 billion, if you include its short-term and long-term investments. So why is Apple raising another $5 billion or so in another bond offering?

Apple has filed to sell a multi-traunch offering of notes and bonds, and the reported amount is $5 billion. This would be smaller than the $12 billion it raised in 2014 and the $17 billion in 2013.

UPDATE: Apple increased the size of its debt offerings to a total of $6.5 billion. Here are the notes we saw, with pricing:

  • Floating Rate Notes due in 2020 of $500,000,000 due February 7, 2020 with a spread to LIBOR of +25 basis points.
  • $1,250,000,000 of the 1.55% coupon due February 7, 2020 with a 1.596% yield (+42 basis points over Treasury)
  • $1,250,000,000  of the 2.15% coupon due February 9, 2022 with a yield of 2.153% (67 basis points over Treasury)
  • $1,500,000,000 of the 2.5% coupon due February 9, 2025 with a yield of  2.516% (85 basis points over Treasury).
  • $2,000,000,000 of the 3.45% coupon due February 9, 2045 with a yield of 3.498% (125 basis points above Treasury).

If you go back to Apple’s earnings release analysis, it showed that international sales were 65% of revenues. This means that much of Apple’s cash treasure trove is stored outside of the United States. Apple would have to pay a huge penalty to bring that money back into the country.

Standard & Poor’s has already said on Monday that Apple’s senior unsecured notes will be rated AA+. The prospectus and the S&P show the maturity dates as 2020, 2022, 2025 and in 2045.

The notes and bonds have been earmarked for general corporate purposes. Of course that includes stock buybacks and dividends, as well as funding for working capital, capital expenditures and acquisitions, and repayment of debt. Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank were the only two listed underwriters for the note and bond offering.

Apple shares were up 0.5% at $117.75 in midday trading on Monday. Its 52-week trading range is $71.33 to $120.00, and the consensus analyst price target from Thomson Reuters has now risen to $129.53.

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