NetApp: Our Data Domain bid remains 'superior'

Despite a new $33.50 per share takeover offer from EMC, NetApp still believes its proposal to be the winning one as an August shareholder vote looms.

EMC has proven tenacious in trying to outbid NetApp in the battle to buy Data Domain. But NetApp isn't going down without a fight.

After Monday's announcement that EMC had upped its offer for Data Domain to $33.50 a share, NetApp countered with two responses, the first noncommittal but the second quite clear.

The first word from NetApp:

"In response to EMC's revised, unsolicited offer, the NetApp Board of Directors will carefully weigh its options, keeping in mind both its fiduciary duty to its stockholders and its disciplined acquisition strategy," Dan Warmenhoven, chairman and CEO of NetApp, said in a statement. "We will provide an update shortly."

That update came later Monday as NetApp affirmed its intention to acquire Data Domain, still asserting its bid as "superior." The company also announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission has declared NetApp's offer as effective, clearing the way for a shareholder vote.

Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission has granted the merger agreement early clearance. This means the FTC will not conduct any further reviews of the merger, allowing NetApp's acquistion of Data Domain to close on a timely basis if approved by stockholders.

"We are pleased to have passed these important milestones, which we believe set us on course for a clear and timely path to close," said Warmenhoven. "We continue to believe that our offer is superior to the unsolicited offer from EMC."

Data Domain's board has set up a special stockholder meeting for August 14 to vote on the merger.

The fight to own Data Domain started on May 20 with NetApp's original offer of $25 per share. In early June, EMC volleyed with a higher per-share bid.

Despite lawsuits against Data Domain over the agreement with NetApp, the two companies seemed determined to complete their deal. Now the ball is back in EMC's court.

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