Wal-Mart Buys Accel’s Interest in Wal-Mart.com

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced on July 23 that it will purchase Accel Partners’ interest in Walmart.com.

• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold $3 billion in global debt securities July 26 to a market apparently hungry for corporate bonds in an uncertain equity environment, traders said.

Wal-Mart sold $1.5 billion of 2-year notes and $1.5 billion of 5-year notes.

The company carries “investment-grade” credit ratings, which keeps the cost of lending low.

Moody’s Investors Service rates Wal-Mart’s existing senior unsecured debt “Aa2,” while Standard & Poor’s rates it “AA.”

The company paid yields of 4.45 percent on the 2-year paper, or more than 50 basis points over a comparable Treasury. The actual yield was about 20 basis points more than analysts were expecting.

Wal-Mart paid just over 4.49 percent in yield on the 5-year debt or more than 80 basis points over Treasury’s, about 30 basis points more than estimates ahead of the actual auction.

Corporate bonds earn more yield than a government-backed Treasury security because they are riskier.

The highest rated or investment-grade asset class is the best performer among all fixed-income categories so far this year.

Traders said Wal-Mart saw more than $4 billion in bids for its debt despite the lower yields.

Companies have sold an impressive $13 billion in issues that week and have met strong buying, which raises prices and lowers yields, as investors look for alternatives that pay more than Treasury’s, where yields have dropped on Fed rate-cut hopes, but carry less risk than stocks.

• Wal-Mart has agreed to comply with Wisconsin’s fair pricing law to settle a complaint the state filed last year alleging the retail giant was selling some items below cost to crush the competition.

The world’s largest retailer didn’t admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, which was announced Aug. 13, and the company won’t pay a penalty.

If the Bentonville-based retailer violates the agreement during the next year, however, it could be forced to pay double and triple the regular fines.

Wal-Mart also will make a $15,000 donation to a high school consumer education contest — the cost of the state’s investigation.

Wisconsin charged Wal-Mart last year with cutting prices at stores in Beloit, Oshkosh, Racine, Tomah and West Bend to illegally take business from competitors. State law forbids stores to sell items below cost if they are doing it to unfairly attract business from competitors.

In the complaint, state officials said a 100-ounce container of Liquid Tide that cost Wal-Mart $6.51 was sold for $4.54 and $4.88 at the Beloit store, $4.88 at Oshkosh and $5.18 at Tomah.

The company operates 74 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores in Wisconsin, employing about 21,000 people.