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Apple joins tech borrowing boom with second deal this year

Borrowing costs are so cheap right now that not even Apple can resist.
Image: Bloomberg

Borrowing costs are so cheap right now that not even Apple can resist, becoming the latest to join a boom in issuance from the world’s biggest technology companies.

Apple, which hasn’t borrowed in dollars more than once in a calendar year since 2017, is tapping the investment-grade market for the second time since May. It was cheap to issue debt then and is even better now, with cash-rich companies like Amazon and Google parent Alphabet getting in on the action, outdoing each other to set a new floor for yields.

The iPhone maker is selling bonds in four parts, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The longest maturity, a 40-year security, may yield around 135 basis points above Treasuries, the person said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

That debt will almost certainly come cheaper for Apple than it did for Amazon, which priced at 130 basis points over Treasuries, and could possibly rival Google’s spread of 108 basis points. Outside of tech, Visa Inc. and Chevron Corp. set record low rates on new issues earlier this week, but for bonds that mature sooner.

Unlike the rest of the economy, big tech has thrived in the pandemic, with consumers largely still at home and more reliant on their gadgets and connectivity. Even with cash piles near record highs, the companies are borrowing for next to nothing in a credit boom that has favored corporate America’s biggest companies and left the smaller ones behind.

Apple is coming off a blowout quarter that has helped fuel a stock surge that’s putting its market value close to a historic $2 trillion. Now it’s readying a series of bundles that will let customers subscribe to several of the company’s digital services at a lower monthly price, according to people with knowledge of the effort.

Like almost all of Apple’s bond sales, it will use the money to buy back stock and pay dividends, among other general corporate purposes, the person said. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are managing the offering.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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