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Apple to sell $17 billion in bonds

Apple offered investors $17 billion worth of bonds Tuesday in the largest company bond sale on record.

Apple paris Enlarge
A customer leaves an Apple store in Paris on September 21, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

Apple offered investors $17 billion worth of bonds Tuesday in the largest company bond sale on record.

Apple issued $3 billion in floating-rate notes and $14 billion of fixed-rate securities in six parts with maturities from three to 30 years.

Proceeds are expected to help the company avoid repatriation taxes on its $102.3 billion held overseas. CEO Tim Cook will also return an additional $55 billion to shareholders by 2015 to compensate for a stock beaten down by signs of slowing growth.

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“It’s a high-quality name which brings in a lot of different kinds of buyers,” Ashish Shah, the head of global credit investment at New York-based AllianceBernstein LP, which oversees $256 billion in fixed-income assets, told Bloomberg in a telephone interview.

The only debt previously associated with Apple came nearly 20 years ago. The company sold $300 million of bonds at a 6.5 percent interest rate in February 1994, and the debt was paid back 10 years later.

Apple's bond sale is the largest on record, topping Roche Holding AG's $16.5 billion six-part deal in February 2009, which included $3 billion worth of one-year floating-rate debt, and AbbVie Inc.'s $14.7 billion six-part deal in November.

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