SanDisk Shift Speeds Up with Fusion-IO Purchase

SanDisk, which has found huge sales gains by focusing on business needs for its ubiquitous flash memory products, juiced that area of its business by agreeing to purchase enterprise-flash company Fusion-IO for more than $1 billion.

SanDisk announced Monday morning that it has agreed to pay $11.25 per share for the Salt Lake City company, which values Fusion-IO at $1.21 billion; SanDisk will commit $1.1 billion in cash for the deal, after assuming Fusion-IO's cash reserves.

"Fusion-io will accelerate our efforts to enable the flash-transformed data center, helping companies better manage increasingly heavy data workloads at a lower total cost of ownership," SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said in Monday's announcement.

The Milpitas flash-memory company, known for memory cards popular for consumer products such as digital cameras, has used acquisitions to muscle its way into the booming market for flash storage on a grander level. SanDisk purchased two software companies, Schooner Information Technology and FlashSoft, in 2012 and followed that up with the $307 million acquisition of Newark-based solid-state drive manufacturer SMART Storage Systems in 2013.

With flash storage becoming fashionable in data centers and other large corporate storage, SanDisk capitalized on its purchases and increased its annual sales more than $1 billion in 2013, topping $6 billion in revenues for the first time and experiencing a gigantic 150 percent gain in profits.

Fusion-IO should enhance SanDisk's ability to offer businesses complete storage packages -- the company was one of the first to succeed at providing flash solutions for data centers. Founded in 2005, Fusion-IO arrived just as cloud computing and big data created a big need for bigger and faster storage solutions and found big-name clients such as Apple and Facebook, with the Menlo Park company accounting for just less than half of Fusion-IO's business when the enterprise-flash company went public in 2011.

Fusion-IO went public...

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