Apple is whipping out its proverbial credit card in a huge way. The firm intends to sell $17 billion in bonds, in what would be the biggest sale of investment-grade corporate debt in US history, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Apple wouldn't comment on the sale or confirm specifics, but it did say that it intends to issue debt in order to return $100 billion to shareholders by the end of 2015.
Expect demand for the bonds to be massive—indeed, Henry Blodget at Business Insider writes today that the news has managed to affect the multi-trillion-dollar market for US government debt. Some pundits are even saying that the bonds are as safe as their government counterparts, though Blodget thinks such people are "hallucinating." Joke about the debt if you want, but Uncle Sam "has something that even Apple will never have: a money printing press." (Read more Apple stories.)