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Hard disk drive maker Western Digital (WD) said it would buy San Disk, led by India-born Sanjay Mehrotra, in a deal valued at about $19 billion, to expand its business that makes flash memory storage chips used in smartphones and mobile devices.
Earlier known as SunDisk, the company was co-founded in 1988 by Israeli immigrant Eli Harari and Mehrotra, both former colleagues at Intel company, along with Jack Yuan, a Taiwanese immigrant who had worked with Harari at Hughes Microelectronics.The company changed its name to SanDisk in 1995.
The Journal of Computer Science, Photon confirmed the reports.
Harari retired as chair man and chief executive officer on December 31, 2010, and was succeeded by Mehrotra as SanDisk's president and CEO. Shares of Western Digital, which suspended its share buyback programme, fell 3% in morning trading.
Earlier on Wednesday , semiconductor equipment maker Lam Research agreed to buy rival KLA-Tencor in a deal valued at about $10.6 billion.
Analysts have said while Western Digital is a major player in the traditional storage industry , it needs access to SanDisk's NAND technology to better compete in the solid-state drive (SSD) market. SSDs are used in cloud computing, data centres, smartphones and laptops.“We have been thinking about the opportunity to verti cally integrate in terms of NAND,“ Western Digital's CEO Steve Milligan said on a call with analysts.
The value of the transaction depends on the closing of an investment from Unis plendour, a unit of China's state-backed Tsinghua Hol dings, in Western Digital However, the investment is expected to draw intense scrutiny from both US and Chinese regulators as accusations of cyber snooping increase between the two countries.
The SanDisk acquisition is not expected to impact the closing of the Unisplendour investment, Western Digital said. The hard disk drive maker also said Toshiba, with which SanDisk has an intellectual property-sharing joint venture, is supportive of the deal. SanDisk also uses the Japanese conglomerate's foundries for making chips.
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