HPE to Buy Flash-Storage Company Nimble for $1B

HPE to Buy Flash-Storage Company Nimble for $1B

Giant seeking faster-growing businesses to offset decline in older product sales and cloud competition

By Brian Womack (Bloomberg) -- Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. agreed to buy Nimble Storage in a deal valued at about $1 billion, bolstering a higher-growth segment of the market for data storage.

The $12.50-a-share offer for Nimble was 45 percent more than Monday’s closing price. Hewlett Packard Enterprise said Tuesday it also will assume, or pay out, about $200 million of Nimble’s unvested equity awards at the closing of the deal.

Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman -- looking for ways to return to sales growth -- is spending more on acquisitions after a multiyear effort to slim down her company. She had already announced three purchases this year, and the deal for Nimble will extend Hewlett Packard’s reach into flash-storage data, which uses memory chips that are much faster than traditional hard disk-based storage.

Read moreHPE’s Whitman Struggles in Shift to Smaller Size, Cloud Pressure

The market for flash storage was estimated to be about $15 billion in 2016 and will grow to $20 billion by 2020, according to projections from International Data Corp.

Meg Whitman CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, rings the NYSE opening bell on November 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which posted a 10 percent drop in revenue in the quarter ended Jan. 31., is seeking faster-growing businesses to help offset weak demand for older products and competition from cloud-based providers of storage and computing power. Sales in the key Enterprise Group -- which includes servers and storage gear -- dropped 12 percent.

Meanwhile, San Jose, California-based Nimble reported that revenue increased 26 percent to $102 million in the quarter ended Oct. 31. Its offerings are complementary to Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the deal will “enable HPE to deliver a full range of superior flash storage solutions for customers across every segment,” according to a statement announcing the agreement.

The transaction is expected to add to earnings in the first full fiscal year following its completion, anticipated in April.

Whitman -- who split her company from its personal computer and printer businesses in late 2015 -- is trying to make Hewlett Packard Enterprise more flexible. This year, the Palo Alto, California-based company should conclude two multibillion-dollar deals unveiled in 2016. In September, the company announced it would spin off and merge some software assets in a deal with U.K.-based Micro Focus International Plc. Last May, HPE said it would combine its technology-services division with Computer Sciences Corp. in a spinoff scheduled to become official April 1.

Nimble was founded in 2007, went public in December 2013 and has about 1,300 employees, according to the statement.

See also: How to Optimize Flash Storage in the Data Center

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