Countrywide Financial Corp., Calabasas, Calif., has announced the sale of $4 billion of convertible bonds through a private placement and said it will use some of the proceeds to buy back up to 23 million shares of its common stock.On Thursday Countrywide's stock was the most actively traded on the New York Stock Exchange, rising 2% to $41.16, with 41 million shares changing hands by noon. (Its average daily volume is 11 million shares.) The bonds (debentures) were issued in two separate series, A and B, and are due in 30 years. The series A bonds have a conversion rate representing a 30% premium over Countrywide's close-of-day stock price on Wednesday ($40.33) while the B bonds carry a 45% premium. In unrelated news, Countrywide chairman Angelo Mozilo recently told analysts that he could not see the company being absorbed by a large bank, "as that could destroy the franchise value that had been created." The company can be found online at http://www.countrywide.com.

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