Google's parent company Alphabet has sold $2bn (£1.5bn) of bonds, joining other technology firms that have already raised over $100bn in 2016 in a rush to the bond market.
Technology companies are among the leading issuers of US investment grade debt this year and have sold $102.7bn of bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This is about $5bn less than the bonds sold a year ago. Apple, Dell and Microsoft are among the companies that hold the top five spot for total issuance in 2016.
Recently, Microsoft sold $19.75bn of bonds with seven maturities to finance its $26.2bn acquisition of LinkedIn. Orders for Microsoft bonds exceeded $50bn with the strongest demand for 10 and 30-year papers. The sale comprises fixed-rate notes that mature between three and 40 years. Apple, meanwhile, issued $7bn of bonds to fund dividend payments and share buybacks.
In a period of over two years Google has sold 10-year notes to repay its debt, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. Debt yields about 0.68% points above Treasuries.
Alphabet had earlier hinted it might sell debts soon. Alex Oxenham, portfolio manager at Hilton Capital Management, which manages $850m including Google debt, said Alphabet's bonds are safer. He said owning Alphabet bonds "certainly beats owning Treasuries," and the notes offer more yield compared to government securities, without any risk.
As of 30 June, Alphabet had $78.5bn of cash on its order books. Around $30bn of Google's cash was in the US at the end of the quarter, said Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat in a conference call with investors last week. Google sold its last bond of $1bn in 2014 with 10-year notes for corporate purposes that include debt payment.
Tech firms have been issuing bonds to avoid taxes on cash abroad; or they would end up paying a 35% tax to repatriate their funds to the US. For the multinationals it is cheaper to borrow funds domestically instead of going for offshore cash to finance debt, acquisitions and shareholders rewards.