Shareholders Approve Western Digital-SanDisk Acquisition

Posted on March 17, 2016 By Pedro Hernandez

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In the wake Dell's record-shattering, $67 billion bid for EMC last October, Western Digital made some big waves of its own. Later that same month, Western Digital announced plans to acquire SanDisk for $19 billion.

This week, the companies announced a major new development.

Shareholders on both sides of the Western Digital-SanDisk transaction have approved the acquisition, with 98 percent of the votes in favor of the deal on SanDisk's side. Ninety percent of the votes cast by Western Digital's shareholders supported the acquisition.

"We are pleased to receive the support of both our shareholders and SanDisk's, marking another milestone on our journey to transform Western Digital into the leading storage solutions company," said Steve Milligan, CEO of Western Digital, in a March 15 announcement. In a separate statement, Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO of SanDisk, said that merging the hard disk drive (HDD) maker with the flash storage provider "will enable the combined company to offer the broadest portfolio of industry-leading, innovative storage solutions to customers across a wide range of markets and applications."

It's not a done deal quite yet, the companies said.

Western Digital and SanDisk are still awaiting regulatory approval in China. The United States, European Union, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey have already given the deal the go-ahead.

Snapping up SanDisk marks a major turning point for Western Digital.

Following the $4.3 billion acquisition of HGST, a rival hard drive manufacturer, Western Digital has been increasingly turning its attention to the growing market for flash-based storage solutions.

In the summer of 2013, Western Digital bought VeloBit, Lincoln, Mass.-based software company that specialized in solid-state drive (SSD) caching and virtual desktop infrastructure acceleration. In December 2014, through its enterprise data storage subsidiary, HGST, the company acquired Skyera, a San Jose, Calif.-based producer of all-flash storage systems.

Now with SanDisk's portfolio of SSDs, all-flash storage arrays and acceleration software within its grasp, Western Digital continues to hasten its transformation from an HDD company into a full-fledged enterprise storage solutions provider.

"This transformational acquisition aligns with our long-term strategy to be an innovative leader in the storage industry by providing compelling, high-quality products with leading technology. The combined company will be ideally positioned to capture the growth opportunities created by the rapidly evolving storage industry," stated Milligan when the deal was first announced.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.


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