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Microsoft insists debt issue not a prelude to SAP bid

That's random, says Ballmer

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Microsoft confirmed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday that it plans to sell a multi-billion-dollar debt offering, and in turn kicked off rumours that Redmond could be mulling a possible takeover of German software maker SAP.

MS boss Steve Ballmer has since poured cold water on the speculation, but what’s less clear is what Microsoft plans to specifically do with the $3.75bn debt issue, which is the first of its kind in the tech giant’s history.

"I have nothing to say about rumors of acquisitions... positively or negatively," he told reporters, when asked about a possible buyout of SAP.

"It strikes me as a random rumour," said Ballmer, according to Reuters.

Microsoft said in a statement yesterday that the landmark bonds issue would be used for general corporate purposes “which may include funding for working capital, capital expenditures, repurchases of stock and acquisitions.” It will also fund the firm’s share buy-back plans.

Rumours regularly suggest that Microsoft or IBM is in the running to buy biz apps provider SAP, which in January was forced to slash 3,000 jobs worldwide to cut costs, after its 2008 net profit fell two per cent in an increasingly sluggish market.

Just yesterday the Walldorf-based software vendor confirmed an acquisition of its own with the buyout of privately-held carbon management tech firm Clear Standards for an undisclosed sum. ®

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