Business, Finance, News

Black-owned Firms Participate in Apple and Microsoft Bond Offerings

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by Frederick H. Lowe

Three African American-owned companies participated in multi-billion debt offerings by Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jr. of Operation PUSH in Chicago hailed the deals as breakthroughs for business diversity.

The Williams Capital Group, LP, a New York City-based full-service investment firm that caters to institutional investors and corporate clients, participated in the Cupertino,Calif.-based Apple $6.5 billion bond offering that closed Feb. 2.

The Williams Group, which was founded by Christopher Williams in 1994, was responsible for underwriting $5 million in floating rate notes, $12.5 million in 2020 fixed rate notes, $12.5 million in 2022 fixed rate notes, $15 million in 2025 fixed rate notes and $20 million in 2045 fixed rate notes, according to Apple Inc.’s prospectus supplement.

The Williams Group was a co-manager. The other managers were Goldman, Sachs & Co., BofA, Merrill Lynch, J. P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank Securities.

The Williams Group also participated in Microsoft Corp.’s 10.75 billion debt sale, the largest to date. In addition to The Williams Group, CastleOak Securities, LP, also of New York City, and Loop Capital Markets of Chicago participated as co-managers for the debt sale that was completed Monday.

CastleOak was co-founded by David R. Jones, the president and CEO, and Nathaniel H. Christian, managing director and general counsel.

Loop Capital, a global investment services firm, is headed by CEO Jim Reynolds.

“These minority banks have been instrumental in making our bonds available to retail investors,” said George Zinn, corporate vice president and treasurer of Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., near Seattle.

“We commend Microsoft for their leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion,” Jackson said. Earlier, he commended Apple for including minority firms in its debt sale for the first time.

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