Apple sells $5 billion of debt to fund share buybacks, dividends

By Molly Smith

Apple Inc. sold bonds again to finance its current round of share buybacks and dividends.

The iPhone maker offered $5 billion of debt in four parts, after dropping a two-year floating rate component, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The longest portion of the sale, a 30-year security, will yield 1.1 percentage points above Treasuries, down from initial talk of around 1.25 percentage points, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal is private.

Apple is about three-fourths of the way through a program that’s returning $300 billion of capital to shareholders by the end of March 2019. At the start of July, the company was sitting on more than $261.5 billion of cash — 94 percent of which was outside the U.S., Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said on an earnings call. The Cupertino, California-based company declared a regular quarterly dividend of 63 cents a share last month.

The bond sale comes a week before Apple is scheduled to announce successors to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus during a launch event at its new campus. The latest model is expected to eliminate the home button, a key feature since the gadget debuted a decade ago, and introduce upgrades such as a face-recognition scanner, Bloomberg reported last month. The iPhone is Apple’s biggest product, responsible for about two-thirds of sales.

Apple, which sold debt for at least the seventh time this year, joined a host of other issuers Tuesday following the lull that led up to the U.S. Labor Day holiday. Home Depot Inc. sold $1 billion of investment-grade debt today, and International Business Machines Corp. was in the market with a five-part deal. Apple sold C$2.5 billion ($2 billion) in its first Canadian maple bond deal last month.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG managed the latest bond sale, Apple said in a filing.

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