An offer Data Domain can’t refuse

June 2, 2009

rtr1wratWho knew EMC was a gatecrasher? Two weeks after NetApp announced plans to acquire Data Domain for $1.5 billion, the storage giant barged in with a higher offer and spoiled NetApp’s party.

EMC has always coveted Data Domain, which makes technology that removes redundant data as it is backed up, saving companies costly storage space. EMC CEO Joe Tucci said as much yesterday, complaining that Data Domain didn’t even give EMC a chance to bid for the assets before tying up with NetApp.

Hence, the aggressive move, supported by the $30 a share, all-cash offer that analysts say Data Domain would find tough to refuse.

“It’s unlikely that NetApp outbids EMC for Data Domain, as it will be difficult to match the all-cash deal,” said Mark Kelleher, an analyst at Brigantine Advisors.

“Upping the ante to counter EMC would be a stretch,” wrote Jefferies analyst Bill Choi. EMC has more than four times NetApp’s cash in its books ($6.8 billion versus $1.5 billion).

It’s no surprise then that EMC feels “quite confident” it will walk away with Data Domain at the current offer, according to a person familiar with the matter. Data Domain’s shares are trading at around $31 this morning, up nearly 20 percent, which is one indication of what shareholders are thinking.

That’s unless Data Domain’s advisers come up with some trick in the book. After all, we’re talking about Frank Quattrone, whose Qatalyst Partners is the only firm that advised Data Domain on the NetApp deal.

Photo: Reuters

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