Alphabet locks in $10bn bond at record low price

04 Aug 2020

The owner of Google, Alphabet borrowed $10 billion in the investment-grade corporate debt market on Monday.

Secured at a record low cost, this is the firm’s largest bond issue.

The debt issuance was a rare move for Alphabet, reports the FT, as the company hasn’t issued bonds since 2015. Up until this latest fundraising, the firm had just $4 billion of outstanding debt.

In terms of the $10 billion on offer, Reuters reports, the $1 billion five-year tranche was issued at a 0.45% coupon, the lowest at that level of maturity since Apple issued a $1.5 billion five-year note at 0.45% back in 2013.

According to data from Refinitiv IFR, the deal acquired over $31 billion in demand. Beforehand, Alphabet’s lowest coupon was 1.25% on a note valued at $1 billion in May 2014.

There was strong investor appetite for the firm’s six-part bond, as ultra-low rates and corporate bond buying from the Fed supports issuance.

“The market is still open, there is demand for investment-grade credit and financing costs are super cheap. So, why not?” according to Monica Erickson, head of the investment-grade corporate team at DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles.

Tom Graff, head of fixed income at Brown Advisory stated: “We’re at a stage where these extremely high-quality issuers - of which Alphabet is one - are going to price very very tight. That’s because there are a lot of buyers who need short-term, don’t-need-to-think-about-it money. You’re getting two times the yield on the five-year Treasury.”

The Google owner published its first quarterly sales decline last week in 16 years. The share price hardly altered however as the drop in sales was countered by a rally in Google’s ads business.

Graff continued: “There is a very narrow set of companies that were already super high quality, that are not impacted by this recession we’re going through right now. And Google is one of them.”

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