Apple Prepares for First Debt Sale

US computer giant Apple has begun preparations for its first-ever debt sale, following an announcement last week that it could follow this route to help fund a US$100bn capital return programme for shareholders.

According to a
Reuters
report the group is about to begin investor calls, led by Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, and has filed a Form S-3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirming that it is depositing the cash necessary to pay accrued dividends.

Apple announced its first decline in quarterly profits in 10 years last week and revealed plans to buy back around US$60bn of its shares over the next three years. Any bond offering by the group is expected to attract heavy demand from investors. Analysts have suggested that it could raise funds at an even cheaper rate than AAA-rated Microsoft, which last week priced a new US$1bn 10-year bond at 70 basis points (bp) over Treasuries. It is believed that Apple could issue 10-year bonds at around 45bp-50bp over Treasuries.

Analysts have also said that while Apple holds an estimated US$145bn in cash, only US$45bn of that amount is on hand in the US and therefore insufficient to fully fund the share buy-back programme. Given the funding needed and the size of investor demand, it is likely that the group will issue debt across multiple maturities and currencies.

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