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Apple bond offering among biggest ever: reports

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A bond offering from Apple expected to be priced later today will be one of the largest ever for a US company, according to leading financial newspapers Tuesday.

Apple is selling $17 billion in investment-grade bonds, which would be a record for a US corporate debt issue, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited investors familiar with the deal.

The Financial Times, also citing sources close to the deal, said the offering would be $15 billion, but might be increased due to heavy demand.

Underwriters have been able to lower the interest rate to be paid on the bonds, due to apparent high demand, the Journal said.

Apple’s bond offering would be in the same ballpark as historic bond issues, such as Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche’s $16.5 billion offering in 2009, France Telecom’s $16.4 billion bond in 2001 and US pharmaceutical firm AbbVie’s $14.7 billion offering last year, the two reports said.

Apple itself has not said how much debt it plans to raise, but the money raised is to help fund an expanded shareholder payout program.

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Facing pressure from shareholders over its recent drop in share price, the company said last week that it would spend up to $100 billion on dividends and share buybacks through 2015.

Apple is offering six tranches of debt, four at fixed rates and two at floating rates with the maturity between three and 30 years, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The bond offering gives Apple the chance to take advantage of low interest rates to fund its dividends and buybacks.

Apple held $145 billion in cash as of the end of March. But a large quantity of these funds is held overseas and would face high repatriation taxes if brought back to the US for the purpose.

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‘Dangerous linguistic power’: A historian explains how Trump weaponizes nicknames

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Is Donald Trump the modern day Earl Long?

A three-time Louisiana governor, Long mastered the art of political ridicule seven decades ago by weaponizing nicknames. The hilarious names Long pinned on his rivals, and the rollicking stories he told about them, riveted audiences bored by puffed-up rhetoric.

While Long’s stunts may be remembered as silly hijinks, there was a sly, often deadly serious, purpose to his technique. He used it to get voters to laugh at his foes and to put them on the defensive––a place politicians never want to be. Tucked within Long’s jests were razor-sharp attacks aimed at exploiting opposition weaknesses––hidden swords inside a pea-patch cloak.

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Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

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Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

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Amazon, Google and Facebook warrant antitrust scrutiny for many reasons – not just because they’re large

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There’s a growing chorus of U.S. politicians, antitrust scholars and consumer watchdogs calling for stricter antitrust treatment of Amazon, Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Some even say they should be broken up.

Most recently, U.S. lawmakers launched a sweeping review to determine if these companies have become so big and powerful that they are stifling competition and harming consumers, while federal regulators are also gearing up to take action.

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 ENOUGH IS ENOUGH 

Trump endorses killing journalists, like Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Online ad networks are now targeting sites that cover acts of violence against dissidents, LGBTQ people and people of color.

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