Hard drive maker Seagate announced Thursday that is acquiring LaCie in a multi-step process that first involves gaining a controlling interest in the Mac external storage specialist.
LaCie CEO Philippe Spruch and his affiliate have agreed to sell 64.5 percent of LaCie's outstanding shares to Seagate. Once that transaction is complete, and barring any regulatory hurdles, Seagate intends to buy the rest of LaCie's shares in a deal that will total $186 million when all is said and done.
The companies expect both parts of the deal to be completed in the third calendar quarter of 2012. Philippe Spruch will run Seagate's consumer storage products unit, said Seagate CEO Steve Luczo.
Acquiring the French firm will help Seagate expand into Europe and Japan and lend momentum to its global growth strategy, according to the company. Last year, Seagate boosted its hard drive manufacturing when it purchased Samsung's hard drive business for nearly $1.4 billion. In 2005, Seagate bought rival Maxtor for $1.5 billion.
In addition to absorbing LaCie's software and engineering expertise, the deal would bolster Seagate's product portfolio with premium products that complement its mainstream consumer offerings, says Luczo in a company release.
"This transaction would bring a highly complementary set of capabilities to Seagate, significantly expand our consumer product offerings, add a premium-branded direct-attached storage line, strengthen our network-attached storage business line and enhance our capabilities in software development," states Luczo.
LaCie's hardware is distinguished by high-end construction and an industrial design aesthetic punctuated by distinctive shapes and premium materials. Products like the aluminum-encased Porche Design P9220 USB 3.0 external drive and the 2big NAS exemplify LaCie's form and function design philosophy.
Best known for its Mac-friendly external hard drives, in recent years the company has expanded its product lines to include a variety of NAS systems, portable hard drives and even a cloud storage service. The company is also an early supporter of the Thunderbolt specification, a 10 Gbit/s data and display connector that is exclusive to Mac until compatible Windows systems arrive this year.