Who is on Microsoft's shopping list?

On Monday Microsoft filed its first bond offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), The Redmond software house said it would issue five-year, 10-year and 30-year notes for “general purposes”. Industry analysts put the value at $3.75bn.

The move comes on top of a board decision last year to raise up to $6bn in debt, and follows the take-on of short term debt worth around $2bn.

Given that Microsoft’s latest financial results show it produces $12bn a year in free cash flow and net profit of $22bn, it’s no surprise that Moody’s the rating agency, classed Microsoft’s bond AAA.

What will Microsoft do with the money? The old saw that the time to borrow money is when you don’t need it comes to mind. But it has been window shopping. Last year Yahoo turned down a $47bn offer, but with new bosses at the search company, there may be room for fresh talks.

Industry watchers have mentioned SAP, the German enterprise applications software giant, as a possible target. But Microsoft is already in most of SAP’s clients, so a takeover would merely consolidate Redmond’s grip on the corporate IT throat and prompt a million lawsuits.

What about, and this is purely speculation, something in the cloud space? The area is maturing, firms are starting to make money there, and it plays to what Microsoft has been doing with information security. What about Amazon?

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