Founded in 1988, SanDisk is perhaps most well-known for its portable USB storage devices, though it also produces embedded flash drives, memory cards SSDs, and digital audio players. The California-based company says its decision to scoop up Smart, which produces both SATA and SAS SSD storage systems, better positions it to boost its existing enterprise portfolio.
SanDisk will pay around $307 million in cash, plus “certain equity-based incentive awards” to acquire Smart Storage Systems, a company that was previously acquired by two investment funds of Silver Lake back in 2011.
The deal has already been approved by the boards of directors on both sides, though the final acquisition is still subject to the usual closing conditions, which includes regulatory review and approval.
SanDisk: Looking to the future
SanDisk drew in revenues of $5 billion in 2012, a 11% decrease on the previous 12 months, but this significant cash outlay indicates that it certainly sees the enterprise as a big part of its future roadmap.
“SanDisk is excited to build upon its leadership position with its fourth acquisition in the enterprise storage market,” explains Sumit Sadana, executive vice president & chief strategy officer of SanDisk. “This acquisition enables SanDisk to address a $1.6 billion market opportunity in enterprise SATA products, and complements our strong enterprise SAS product portfolio. With this combination, SanDisk will have products qualified with six of the top seven storage OEMs worldwide.”
In December 2012, SanDisk also launched SanDisk Ventures, a new $75m fund designed to invest in “startups that are developing innovative solutions based on flash memory technology.”
Similar to the Smart acquisition, this fund is designed to better position SanDisk across the flash memory ecosystem and ensure it has an interest in anything that may further its own interests further down the road. At the time, the company noted that the fund would focus on the fields of solid-state memory, enterprise storage, storage technologies to manage ‘big data,’ and cloud computing. While today’s news is separate to SanDisk Ventures, it’s very much in-line with its plans.
The deal will see 250 employees from SMART Storage Systems join SanDisk once the transaction is finalized later this year.
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