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 user 2008-12-03 at 10:27:45 am Views: 79
  • #20822

    Hewlett-Packard to Sell $2 Billion of Five-Year Notes
    Dec.08– Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to raise $2 billion to help fund its $13.2 billion purchase of Electronic Data Systems Corp., adding to record corporate bond offerings by technology companies this year.Hewlett-Packard, the world’s largest personal-computer maker, may pay 4.6 percentage points over Treasuries of similar maturity to issue five-year global benchmark notes as soon as today, according to a person familiar with the transaction who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set. The company had earlier marketed the debt at about 4.63 percentage points.

    Hewlett-Packard, International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp. are turning to the bond market even as yields over benchmark rates soar to records. Sales of bonds by technology borrowers have surged 32 percent this year to the most ever and are equal to almost four times the 2006 tally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a 27 percent decline for all investment-grade debt.“They’re companies that are able to handle the leverage,” said Tom Farina, a director at Deutsche Bank AG’s insurance asset management unit in New York, which oversees $150 billion of fixed-income assets. “That’s why you get a company like Hewlett- Packard coming to market.”

    Hewlett-Packard in February sold $3 billion of corporate bonds in the Palo Alto, California-based company’s largest offering, Bloomberg data show. The sale included five-year 4.5 percent notes that paid a spread of 1.57 percentage points.The securities fell 0.9 cent today to 96.4 cents on the dollar to yield 5.46 percent, or 3.79 percentage points more than Treasuries due in 2013, according to Trace, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s bond-pricing service. The spread was 3.39 percentage points yesterday.

    IBM, Microsoft
    IBM, the world’s largest computer services company, in October sold $4 billion of bonds in its biggest offering, Bloomberg data show. Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, plans to sell top-rated senior unsecured bonds in an inaugural offering, according to a Nov. 20 regulatory filing that clears the way for the company to issue debt at any time.Technology companies have sold about $20 billion of bonds so far this year, compared with $15.1 billion last year and $5.35 billion in 2006, Bloomberg data show. The extra yield investors demand to own the debt has more than tripled to 5.11 percentage points from 1.62 percentage points on Dec. 31, according to Merrill’s U.S. Corporates, Technology & Electronics index.“Most technology companies have stronger balance sheets than your general industrial, but that’s because the business risk associated with these companies is much higher,” Farina said.

    Hewlett-Packard acquired EDS in August to expand its services business, helping boost sales last quarter for the combined company by 19 percent, according to a Nov. 24 statement. Hewlett-Packard plans to use proceeds from the bond offering to repay commercial paper that helped finance the purchase, the person said. The computer maker said it had $7.4 billion of commercial paper outstanding as of Oct. 31.The new notes will be rated A2, the sixth grade of investment quality, by Moody’s Investors Service, and an equivalent A by Standard & Poor’s, the person said.Hewlett-Packard hired Bank of America Corp., Credit Suisse Group, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank AG, Merrill Lynch & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland to manage the offering.

    Hewlett-Packard last month reported a 10 percent increase in personal computer sales to $11.2 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, beating some estimates, as demand for laptops offset declining printer sales in a slowing economy. Hewlett-Packard redesigned its best-selling notebooks and pursued budget-minded shoppers with a new line of mini-portables priced below $400.Overall sales rose to $33.6 billion. Without the purchase of Plano, Texas-based EDS, sales gained 5 percent. Net income fell 2.4 percent to $2.11 billion, or 84 cents a share, from $2.16 billion, or 81 cents, a year earlier, the company said Nov. 24.