Sandisk to buy rival M-Systems for US$1.6B

SanDisk Corp. will acquire competing flash memory developer M-Systems Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd. for US$1.6 billion, the two companies said late Sunday.

The all-stock deal will see one M-Systems ordinary share converted to 0.76368 of a share of SanDisk common stock. That values each M-Systems share at $36, a 13 percent premium on their Friday closing price. SanDisk said it’s also a 26 percent premium over the average closing price of M-Systems’ shares for the last month.

SanDisk said it is acquiring the Israel-based company because it leads in the mobile, portable and embedded markets. Short-term advantages include making SanDisk more competitive in the mobile phone market, while in the long term the company hopes to gain research and development benefits from the deal, it said.

M-Systems makes a range of flash-memory based products including the U3 smart drives, high-density SIM cards for cell phones, embedded flash drives for phones and other devices and memory cards. SanDisk is a major manufacturer of flash memory cards for use in consumer electronics products.

The deal is subject to approval by regulators in both the U.S. and Israel and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, SanDisk said, after which it intends to make M-Systems a subsidiary.

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