The WD-SanDisk merger is now a done deal

Shareholders have signed off on the $19B merger

Western Digital Corp. (WD) has announced that its shareholders voted to approve its  $19 billion acquisition of SanDisk Corp.

The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of the year.

More than 90% of WD's shareholders voted to approve the issuance of WD common stock in connection with the acquisition; 98% of SanDisk shareholders voted to approve the merger.

"This combination brings together two tremendous companies and cultures ideally positioned to capture the growth opportunities in our rapidly evolving industry," WD CEO Steve Milligan said in a statement.

SanDisk, valued at $17 billion, is a major provider of NAND flash memory products, such as SD cards and solid-state drives (SSDs).

WD first announced its intent to purchase SanDisk in October, saying it would be a cash and stock deal.

While WD makes NAND flash products, it is primarily a manufacturer of hard disk drives and management software.

WD's buyout of SanDisk mainly gives the company an instant foothold in the global  NAND flash memory market, according to Jeff Janukowicz, research vice president at IDC.

The merger comes as the IT industry is evolving rapidly, as companies look for ways to embrace trends such as wearables, the Internet of Things and the cloud. The result has been a recent wave of mergers and acquisitions and investment activity in the data storage market.

WD's purchase of SanDisk comes on the heels of the data storage market's biggest-ever acquisition, Dell's buyout of EMC for $67 billion. That deal was announced just last week. In addition, storage semiconductor maker PMC-Sierra has received multiple takeover bids, and China's Tsinghua-owned Unisplendour has agreed to buy 15% of WD for $3.78 billion.

WD faces an evolution in IT that is driving companies to address a changing set of requirements for both client and enterprise customers.

Enterprises no longer rely solely on tape drives for backups and hard drives for primary data, but must also deal with the higher speed requirements of applications such as online transaction processing and big data analytics.

Today, SSDs are a critical component of multi-tiered storage infrastructures where flash memory devices sit just under DRAM as top-tier storage.

SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said the merger with WD will enable the companies to "offer the broadest portfolio of industry-leading, innovative storage solutions to customers across a wide range of markets and applications."

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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