Western Digital Creates World's Largest Maker of Hard Drives by Taking Over Hitachi GST

WD Acquires Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for $4.3 Billion

by Anton Shilov
03/07/2011 | 11:54 AM

Western Digital and Hitachi on Monday announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby WD will acquire Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $4.3 billion. The proposed combination will result in the creation of the largest storage company in the world.

 

Under the terms of the agreement, WD will acquire Hitachi GST for $3.5 billion in cash and 25 million WD common shares valued at $750 million, based on a WD closing stock price of $30.01 as of March 4, 2011. Hitachi will own approximately 10% of Western Digital shares outstanding after issuance of the shares and two representatives of Hitachi will be added to the WD board of directors at closing. The transaction has been approved by the board of directors of each company and is expected to close during the third calendar quarter of 2011, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. WD plans to fund the transaction with a combination of existing cash and total debt of approximately $2.5 billion.

"The acquisition of Hitachi GST is a unique opportunity for WD to create further value for our customers, stockholders, employees, suppliers and the communities in which we operate. We believe this step will result in several key benefits - enhanced R&D capabilities, innovation and expansion of a rich product portfolio, comprehensive market coverage and scale that will enhance our cost structure and ability to compete in a dynamic marketplace. The skills and contributions of both workforces were key considerations in assessing this compelling opportunity," said John Coyne, president and chief executive officer of WD.

WD expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to its earnings per share on a non-GAAP basis, excluding acquisition-related expenses, restructuring charges and amortization of intangibles.

The resulting company will retain the Western Digital name and remain headquartered in Irvine, California. John Coyne will remain chief executive officer of WD, Tim Leyden chief operating officer and Wolfgang Nickl chief financial officer. Steve Milligan, president and chief executive officer of Hitachi GST, will join WD at closing as president, reporting to John Coyne.

"As the former CEO of Hitachi GST, I always believed in the potential of Hitachi GST to become a larger and more agile company. This is a strategic combination of two industry leaders, both growing and profitable. It provides an opportunity for the new company to increase customer and shareholder value and expand into new markets. Additionally, it is important to us that WD shares common values with Hitachi GST to create a more global company that is well positioned to define a broader role in the evolving storage industry," said Hiroaki Nakanishi, the president of Hitachi.