We just received word from LaCie PR that Seagate has announced an intent to acquire a controlling interest in LaCie. Seagate is a familiar name for storage products, with hard drives being a primary focus and a history that goes back over three decades. More recently, they have branched out into other related areas with their GoFlex external drives and media players. LaCie on the other hand has been around for 20 years, and they have their fingers in a variety of pies: I first came to know them as a purveyor of high-end displays, but more recently they’ve been heavily involved in the storage market, with some of the first Thunderbolt external drive enclosures like their Little Big Disk and 2Big Thunderbolt.

While Seagate now offers a single drive GoFlex Thunderbolt adapter, it would appear that they’re most interested in acquiring LaCie for their multi-drive enclosures. The press release notes that the two companies have “two highly complementary product and technology portfolios”, with specific mention of LaCie’s premium storage solutions, NAS products, and other software. Besides the technology portfolio, the purchase is also intended to help accelerate Seagate’s growth in the expanding consumer storage market, particularly in Europe and Japan. It’s not just about products and technologies, of course, as mention is made of “relationships with several key retailers”. Mr. Spruch will also join Seagate following the close of the sale and lead the company’s consumer storage products organization.

Seagate has offered to purchase all of the shares from LaCie’s chairman and CEO Philippe Spruch and his affiliate, which would represent a controlling interest with 64.5% of outstanding LaCie shares. Pending government approval, at the close of this transaction Seagate would commence an all-cash simplified tender offer to acquire the remaining outstanding shares, in accordance with the General Regulation of the French Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Seagate has offered Mr. Spruch €4.05 per share in cash, minus a potential adjustment depending on the cash and debt position of LaCie at closing. This price may also be increased by a possible 3%, resulting in a maximum potential price per LaCie share of €4.17. The offer currently values LaCie at an approximate €146 million/$186 million USD, including acquired net cash of approximately €49/$65 million USD, as of March 31, 2012. The €4.05 per share price represents a premium of 29% to LaCie's average closing stock price over the 30 trading days ended May 22, 2012.

The transaction is expected to be neutral to Seagate's fiscal 2013 earnings per share, and the tender offer is expected to be completed by Q3’2012. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in the United States, France, and Germany, as well as potential other jurisdictions.

Source: LaCie Press Release

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  • ViRGE - Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - link

    This could definitely be interesting. LaCie makes very nice products (both in terms of functionality and quality), but they're also a bit of a niche company. If Seagate can bring that quality down to mainstream products, that would be fantastic.
  • Denithor - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    Unfortunately I think that Seagate *will* "bring that quality down" and not in the direction you mean. Generally when a commodity company buys a niche company they basically go in and reduce the quality to their own level. All in the name of efficiency, of course.
  • Coup27 - Sunday, May 27, 2012 - link

    I agree with this. There's many examples of large companies buying niche companies and then distroying them by turning them into everyday fodder and I fear this will be another example.
  • bunnyfubbles - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    At least it looks to me that Seagate made this move to help prepare for the inevitable doom of the HDD.
  • nomagic - Friday, May 25, 2012 - link

    No. HDD is here to stay. I don't see HDD being phased out for a long long time.
  • bigboxes - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    That's funny. I was just telling my wife yesterday what horrible quality LaCie products are. I'm disappointed that Seagate is acquiring them. I can see the upside though. However, I'd rather hear the news that Seagate has jumped into the SDD arena by purchasing a competitor.
  • Pessimism - Thursday, May 24, 2012 - link

    I equate LaCie with astronomically overpriced Mac peripherals. Since Apple now goes out of their way to cripple any sort of non Apple-branded peripheral I see no reason for them to continue to exist.
  • jaffa55 - Saturday, September 1, 2012 - link

    During the course of lawsuit, National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh claimed the insurers have no duty to defend Seagate, but a federal judge in California ruled that NUFICOP must defend the claim. Thanks.
  • sree55 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

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