Toshiba Eyes Bankrupt Flash Storage Provider OCZ

By Pedro Hernandez

Toshiba is on the verge of acquiring the assets of beleaguered flash storage provider OCZ.

OCZ, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of solid-state drives, announced that it is fielding an offer from Toshiba Corporation to acquire the company's assets as part of its bankruptcy proceedings. In press remarks, OCZ stated that it had "received an offer from Toshiba Corporation to acquire substantially all of the Company's assets in a bankruptcy proceeding."

Currently, OCZ's bank accounts have been taken over by Hercules Technology Growth Capital as part of a loan and securities arrangement. OCZ revealed that it failed to comply "with certain of the operating ratios and covenants in the loan agreement."

OCZ is a provider of enterprise SSDs. Its portfolio includes 2.5-inch Talos 2 SAS SSDs based on MLC flash chips and Deneva 2 SSDs, which are available in MLC, eMLC and SLC flavors. The company's PCIe SSD product slate includes the Z-Drive R4 and the database-friendly ZD-XL SQL Accelerator. On the consumer front, the company offers SSDs and power supplies for PC enthusiasts.

Toshiba, meanwhile, has been steadily making inroads into the enterprise flash market.

In July, the company invested $3 million in Zadara, a virtual private cloud startup, via its flash storage division, Toshiba America Electronic Components (TEAC). The companies vowed to work "together to introduce innovative Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS) products using cutting-edge technologies they have each developed."

In March, SSD storage array maker Violin Memory launched a new line of PCIe SSDs and announced an IP-sharing agreement with Toshiba, an existing investor. Violin Memory CEO Don Basile stated, "Our new focus on PCIe cards will allow both companies to drive radical new economics that lead to the mass adoption of memory-based architectures. NAND memory is now a requirement at every level from the smart connected device to the core of the cloud and the enterprise data center."

Now, the company has negotiated to snap up OCZ. However, the deal still has some hurdles to clear.

The lengthy list of conditions includes, "the preservation of the value of the business, including the retention of employees," said OCZ. The deal hinges on the bankruptcy court accepting Toshiba's offer as the "highest and best offer."

Should the deal fall through, OCZ "expects to imminently file a petition for bankruptcy and liquidate."

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

This article was originally published on December 02, 2013