Is the Data Domain Saga Over?

After EMC Corp. (EMC) raised its bid for Data Domain (DDUP) to $33.50, a major DDUP shareholder believes NetApp (NTAP) is unlikely to respond with a higher offer, and has begun selling shares.

On Monday EMC Corp. raised its all-cash offer for deduplication specialist Data Domain (DDUP) to $33.50 a share, of $2.1 billion, topping a $30 a share cash and stock offer from NetApp (NTAP). EMC, the world’s largest data storage firm, also said the Federal Trade Commission has granted regulatory approval of the deal. The takeover battle began when NetApp offered $25 a share for Data Domain back in May, which prompted a $30 a share offer from EMC..

The ball shifts into NetApp's court. "In response to EMC's revised, unsolicited offer, the NetApp Board of Directors will carefully weigh its options, keeping in mind both its fiduciary duty to its stockholders and its disciplined acquisition strategy," said Dan Warmenhoven, chairman and CEO of NetApp, in a statement. "We will provide an update shortly."

But Data Domain's largest shareholder appears to believe the battle is over. Tech Trader Daily reports that Artis Capital Management President Stuart Peterson told Dow Jones in an e-mail that it is “unlikely” that NetApp will ratchet up its previous bid. Artis held 10.6% of DDUP at June 4, but Peterson now says the firm has “chosen to reduce our position considerably.”

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