Apple Plans Six-Part Bond Sale

Company’s first offering since 1996 could total as much as $20 bln, trader says.

Apple Inc., the iPhone maker seeking to help finance a $100 billion capital reward for shareholders with borrowed money, may sell its first bonds in almost two decades as soon as today with a six-part offering.

The company intends to issue debt that includes floating-rate notes maturing in 2016 and 2018 and fixed-rate securities due in 2016, 2018, 2023 and 2043, Apple said today in a regulatory filing. Proceeds may help Cupertino, California-based Apple avoid so-called repatriation taxes on its $102.3 billion of funds held overseas as it returns an additional $55 billion to shareholders through 2015 to compensate for a stock that’s been hammered by signs of slowing growth.

No AAA

While Apple’s $145 billion of cash is more than the combined funds of every AAA rated U.S. company including Microsoft, it failed to win the bond market’s highest credit grade from Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s. Moody’s rated the firm Aa1 with S&P giving it a grade of AA+.

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