IBM offering £750M ($1.01B) in debt, opens up Watson to developers

|By:, SA News Editor

IBM, no stranger to issuing low-yield corporate debt, is offering £750M worth of Dec. 2020 notes sporting an interest rate of just 2.75%.

With the company having just added $15B to its buyback program, there's a good chance some of the funds will be used to fund additional stock repurchases, which have been crucial to keeping EPS growth positive in the face of declining revenue.

IBM ended Q3 with $36.2B in debt, or $10.4B if one backs out its Global Financing division. Cash/equivalents totaled $10.2B.

Meanwhile, IBM has opened up its Watson supercomputer/artificial intelligence platform to 3rd-party developers. A developer toolkit and API is being provided, and Big Blue also plans to work with VCs to compel startups to write cloud-based apps for the platform. Retail, supply chain, and health management apps are already in the pipeline. (PR)

IBM is counting on Watson, which runs on its proprietary Power CPUs, to give a lift to a Power server business that saw a 38% Y/Y sales drop in Q3 thanks to nosediving UNIX server demand.