Phony Interviewer:* "Why is Apple borrowing $7 Billion when it already has $200 Billion in the bank?"
Pundit: "They got a really low interest rate (3%)"
SJR Response: Interest rate is only part of the answer.
Apple's 16.3% return on assets means that if the ~$7 Billion from the bond offer is put to productive use in the business Apple will make $931 Million additional profit each year the debt is outstanding.
The present value of that income is about $18 Billion over the (30 year) term of the bonds. They make a nearly risk free $11 Billion off the deal.
*) Anybody want to give me odds on whether this "brilliant exchange" was spontaneous or rehearsed?