Microsoft to raise $2.7 billion via bond sale

Microsoft Corp priced its $2.7 billion bond offering, sold in the U.S. and Euro markets, as it is rushing in before larger rival Apple Inc looks to raise money from the bond market to fund its mammoth $100 billion capital return program.

Microsoft, which is raising 550 million euros ($715 million)in Europe and $1.95 billion in the U.S. market, is one of many U.S. corporations taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow money.

The offerings announced on Thursday are expected to close on May 2, 2013. Microsoft intends to net proceeds from the offerings to repurchase stock, acquisitions and repayment of existing debt.

After Apple's announcement on Tuesday, the iPhone maker could go from being the only major technology company with no debt on its books to one that issues as many bonds as a major global bank.

Microsoft - world's largest software company - is not short of liquidity, with $69 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet, largely held outside of the United States.

In November, Microsoft raised $2.25 billion in the U.S. bond market, according to IFR, Thomson Reuters news and market analysis service. ($1 = 0.7689 euros)

(Reporting By Thyagaraju Adinarayan; Editing by Gary Hill)