SanDisk Acquires Israels M-Systems

Updated: The international transaction will enable SanDisk to proceed with plans to develop next-generation flash-enabled consumer apps.

SanDisk, which makes flash memory data storage cards for digital cameras and other handheld devices, announced July 30 that it is acquiring Israeli data storage company M-Systems for $1.55 billion in an all-stock transaction.

M-Systems will become a wholly owned subsidiary of SanDisk, which said it will now be able to develop next-generation flash-enabled consumer applications for handsets, a SanDisk spokesman said.

In the transaction, each M-Systems ordinary share will be converted into 0.76368 of a share of SanDisk common stock, representing a 26 percent premium over the average closing price of M-Systems shares for the last 30 trading days.

Eli Harari, chairman and CEO of SanDisk, confirmed the final purchase price at approximately $1.55 billion to eWEEK July 31. Earlier information on July 30 from the two companies had indicated the price was to be $1.35 billion.

The closing of the transaction is subject to several conditions, including Israeli court approval, regulatory approval and M-Systems shareholder approval. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

This combined company joins together two flash memory pioneers with complementary products, customers and channels, the spokesman said. Flash memory is a form of non-volatile memory that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed.

"In the near term, this transaction better positions SanDisk to serve the expanding storage needs of handset manufacturers and mobile network operators," Harari said. "In the long term, the combination with M-Systems will be a catalyst in the development of next-generation flash-enabled consumer applications."

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The acquisition will give SanDisk the critical mass and complementary products, customers, channels, technology and manufacturing base to take the company to the next level, Harari said.

"The NAND flash data storage business is in its early stages, and we believe the market opportunity is largely untapped," Harari said.

NAND flash uses tunnel injection for writing and tunnel release for erasing. NAND flash memory forms the core of the removable USB interface storage devices known as USB flash drives.

Milpitas, Calif.-based SanDisk claims to be worlds largest supplier of flash memory data storage card products. It also designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented high-density flash memory and controller technology.

M-Systems, based in Kfar Saba, Israel, transforms raw flash into smarter storage solutions. The company produces embedded flash drives deployed in millions of mobile handsets and U3 USB smart drives designed for leading global brands.

This deal will enable M-Systems to continue supporting its OEM customers, said Dov Moran, M-Systems president and CEO, as well as "strengthen our innovation and product offering with SanDisks leading edge, low-cost fab capacity. This deal has synergy at its core, encompassing people, technology, products and customers."

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...