Western Digital to pay $4.3B for Hitachi drive unit

Already one of the largest hard-drive makers in the world, Western Digital will acquire its counterpart at Hitachi in a deal designed to significantly increase operating scale.

Western Digital, already one of the largest hard-drive makers in the world, has signed a deal to pay $4.3 billion for its counterpart at Hitachi.

The resulting company will keep the Western Digital name and will appoint Steve Milligan, currently president and CEO of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, as president of the new business. Milligan will report directly to Western Digital President and CEO John Coyne. Hitachi GST is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi.

The combined company will offer "significant operating scale, strong global talent, and the industry's broadest product lineup backed by a rich technology portfolio," Western Digital and Hitachi said in a joint statement. The new company will target both consumers and businesses.

To pay for the acquisition, which was announced today, Western Digital will pony up $3.5 billion in cash and 25 million of its common shares, currently valued at $750 million. As a result, Hitachi will own 10 percent of all Western Digital's outstanding shares once the deal is done.

The purchase has already been OK'd by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close during the third quarter, pending regulatory approvals. Western Digital said it expects the acquisition to immediately add to its earnings.

"This brings together two industry leaders with consistent track records of strong execution and industry outperformance," Milligan said in a statement, adding that the combined company's products and services will range from "innovative personal storage to solid state drives for the enterprise."

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