Why would they pay this off early? By paying early they also had to pay a prepayment fee. If you or I were going bankrupt would you be paying off your loans early? It doesn't make sense.
My guess is, like others have said, is it is not that AFFY doesn't want to pay the interest, but their future buyer doesn't want to pay the interest and by paying this off and reducing their total debt it look more attractive to the buyer.
I'd also like to say one other thing about bankruptcy. If you were being sued, would you not rather sell the company than go bankrupt because if you were ever brought up to trial you could say that everything you did was in the interest of the share holder. If you go bankrupt you cannot say this. The Executive's are against the fire right now and they need to cover their butt by saying they could go bankrupts in the 8 and 10k, but if a trial were ever to come about it would make them look so much better if they sell the company to preserver as much share holder value as possible.
My opinion is this prepayment of the load is bullish and I'm going to try to buy some more shares tomorrow pre-market. Good luck all.
Bashers (paid at that) can spin this any way they want - AFFY is poised to be bought out at a fair premium to current share price. $1 Billion to develop their key drug Omontys which competes with Epogen.