Amgen ( AMGN) said late Thursday it is seeking to raise $2.5 billion in a convertible debt offering.

The biotech firm said it intends to use proceeds from the offering to repurchase up to $650 million of its own common stock, and for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions.

Amgen is in the midst of completing a $16 billion acquisition of Immunex ( IMNX), which includes payment of about $2.5 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year.

Amgen had $2.6 billion in cash on hand at the end of 2001.

The offering calls for the sale of 30-year, zero-coupon senior notes convertible into Amgen common shares.

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