Western Digital Corp. on Wednesday said it would acquire memory chipmaker SanDisk Corp for about $19 billion. It’s the latest merger in a large wave of consolidation among semiconductor chipmakers.
Under the offer, Western Digital agreed to pay the chipmaker $86.50 a share in a combination of cash and stock, based on a five-day volume weighted average price of $79.60, ending in Oct. 20. Shares of SanDisk rose 4.6 percent to $78.69 in pre-market trading, following the announcement. Western Digital shares fell 3.82 percent to $72.00.
The move comes as Western Digital looks to grab a piece of the rapidly growing flash storage market, fueled by demand for solid-state hard drives (SSDs) within enterprise data centers, desktop PCs and smartphone storage chips.
"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," Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan, said in a press statement. "The combined company will be ideally positioned to capture the growth opportunities created by the rapidly evolving storage industry.”
Flash storage has also seen rapid growth in data centers due to its space-saving properties and lower electricity requirements compared to traditional disk hard drives. While flash storage remains more expensive on a per-gigabyte basis compared to disk hard drives, falling prices have also driven demand.
According to IDC data cited by Bloomberg, the flash-based data storage market reached nearly $1.6 billion in 2014, two years earlier than initially anticipated. This forced the market research firm to revise its 2015 forecast to $2.24 billion, up from its previous prediction of $1.8 billion.
This year so far, chip company deals reached $100.6 billion in mergers, according to Dealogic, up from $37.7 billion in 2014. Some of the bigger combinations included Avago Technologies’ $37 billion purchase of Broadcom in May, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Milligan will continue to serve as CEO of the merged company and SanDisk president Sanjay Mehrotra is expected to join the Western Digital board of directors.
While the board of directors of both companies agreed to the transaction, it is still subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. The deal is expected to close by the third quarter of the calendar year of 2016.