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EMC raises bid for Data Domain

In the battle for Data Domain, EMC increases its bid to $33.50 per share in cash and says its offer is "clearly superior" to NetApp's bid.

The stakes have been raised yet again in the ongoing saga to acquire storage vendor Data Domain.

EMC announced Monday that it has upped its bid for Data Domain to $33.50 per share in cash, a deal worth about $2.1 billion. The company said its all-cash offer is "clearly superior" to NetApp's proposal of $30 per share in cash and stock.

In a letter to Data Domain Chairman Aneel Bhusri, EMC further strengthened its claim by stating that it has removed all deal-protection provisions from the offer as a way of maximizing value for Data Domain stockholders. The company urged the Data Domain board to do the same.

"It was questionable agreeing to deal protections in your initial agreement with NetApp when you knew of our interest in acquiring the company," EMC CEO Joe Tucci said in his letter to Bhusri. "There is no basis for continuing with them now."

Unlike NetApp, EMC's proposal isn't subject to any financing, due diligence, or regulatory contingencies. EMC will use existing cash to pay for the transaction.

EMC also said it's ready to close the deal within two weeks--almost a month sooner than NetApp. The $33.50-per-share offers expires at midnight EDT on July 17.

"Over the past several weeks we've received strong support from many Data Domain stockholders and customers, validating our belief that EMC is Data Domain's best choice," Tucci said in a statement. "With regulatory requirements now fulfilled, and in light of the clearly superior proposal we submitted to Data Domain's Board of Directors today, we expect Data Domain to sign our definitive agreement that will deliver superior value in cash to the Data Domain stockholders in as little as two weeks."

The skirmish to take over Data Domain has been playing out since May 20 with NetApp's original offer of $25 a share.

In early June, EMC jumped in and started a bidding war. In mid-June, two lawsuits were filed against Data Domain over its apparent reluctance to consider EMC's offer.

Speculation has also run rampant as to why EMC and NetApp are duking it out to win the hand of Data Domain.