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Seagate to Acquire Controlling Interest in LaCie

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#1
Seagate Technology plc the worldwide leader in hard disk drives and storage solutions, and LaCie S.A., a leading manufacturer of consumer storage products, today announced an exclusive agreement with the intent for Seagate to acquire a controlling interest in LaCie.

Seagate has offered to purchase from Philippe Spruch, LaCie's chairman and CEO, and his affiliate, all of their shares, representing 64.5% of the outstanding shares of LaCie. Following receipt of governmental approvals and the close of this transaction, Seagate would commence an all-cash simplified tender offer (followed as the case may be by a squeeze-out procedure) 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 and his affiliate €4.05 per share in cash, minus a potential adjustment depending on the cash and debt position of LaCie at closing. This price may be increased by a possible price supplement of 3% in the event that the threshold of 95% of the shares and voting rights of LaCie would be reached by Seagate within 6 months following closing, resulting in a maximum potential price per LaCie share of €4.17. Without the price supplement, the offer currently values LaCie at an approximate €146 million, or $186 million total equity value, including acquired net cash of approximately €49 million, or $65 million, 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.

Ricol Lasteyrie & Associés was appointed today as independent expert by the board of directors of LaCie, to deliver a fairness opinion on the price that would be offered in the context of the tender offer, including in the perspective of a potential squeeze-out procedure.

The transaction would combine two highly complementary product and technology portfolios, adding LaCie's line of premium branded consumer storage solutions, network-attached storage solutions and software offerings to Seagate's array of mainstream consumer storage products. The combination would accelerate Seagate's growth strategy in the expanding consumer storage market, particularly in Europe and Japan, and add strong engineering and software development capabilities, as well as relationships with several key retailers.

The transaction is expected to be neutral to Seagate's fiscal 2013 earnings per share.

Following the close of the sale of his shares to Seagate, Mr. Spruch would join Seagate and lead the company's consumer storage products organization. Reporting to him would be Patrick Connolly, who currently serves as vice president and general manager of Seagate's retail group, as well as Pierre van der Elst, who currently serves as deputy general manager of LaCie. The financial terms of the new position of Mr Spruch are not determined as of today and would therefore be described subsequently, including in the tender offer documentation.

"Seagate has a strong commitment to the growing consumer storage market and bringing the most dynamic products to market. LaCie has built an exceptional consumer brand by delivering exciting and innovative high-end products for many years. This transaction would bring a highly complementary set of capabilities to Seagate, significantly expand our consumer product offerings, add a premium-branded direct-attached storage line, strengthen our network-attached storage business line and enhance our capabilities in software development," said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. "We are also excited that Philippe, who is a true visionary and leader in the consumer storage business, would join Seagate to run our consumer storage products organization."

"With the proliferation of devices and content being shared and stored today, consumer demand for high-quality branded storage solutions continues to grow," said Philippe Spruch, LaCie's chairman and CEO. "We are excited about the potential for this combination to benefit customers and employees by creating significant scale and opening up new markets. We look forward to making the resources of a much larger company available to our customers around the world."

LaCie will initiate the information and consultation process required by its employee representative council in relation to the contemplated transaction, in accordance with French law. Upon completion of this process, Seagate and Mr. Spruch would execute a definitive share purchase agreement and finalize the purchase of the controlling interest held by Mr. Spruch and his affiliate. This share purchase transaction is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2012 pending completion of the relevant governmental reviews. Seagate would then commence a tender offer for the remaining outstanding shares of LaCie (followed as the case may be by a squeeze-out procedure), subject to a clearance decision from the AMF. The tender offer is expected to be completed in the third calendar quarter of 2012.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval in the United States (antitrust filing), France (approval of foreign investments by the Ministry of Finance) and other jurisdictions (antitrust filing in Germany) and to other customary closing conditions.

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC served as financial advisor and Allen & Overy LLP served as legal advisor to Seagate in connection with the transaction. De Pardieu Brocas Maffei A.A.R.P.I. served as legal advisor to LaCie.
 
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#2
I don't get it. Why would a huge company like Seagate be interested in a minor player (not "leading manufacturer") like LaCie. With a value of just €146 million it doesnt bring much to the table. Unless of course, there are other motivations behind the deal.

I think Philippe Spruch, LaCie's chairman and CEO, wants "out" due to Mr Francois Hollande and his new 75% tax rate for the wealthy. Mr Spruch, wants to leave France asap, and would gladly take up residence in the US (or other non-French jurisdiction) to join Seagate and lead the company's consumer storage products organization.

Well done Mr Spruch for a quick exit!
 

Solaris17

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#3
I don't get it. Why would a huge company like Seagate be interested in a minor player (not "leading manufacturer") like LaCie. With a value of just €146 million it doesnt bring much to the table. Unless of course, there are other motivations behind the deal.

I think Philippe Spruch, LaCie's chairman and CEO, wants "out" due to Mr Francois Hollande and his new 75% tax rate for the wealthy. Mr Spruch, wants to leave France asap, and would gladly take up residence in the US (or other non-French jurisdiction) to join Seagate and lead the company's consumer storage products organization.

Well done Mr Spruch for a quick exit!
I also believe this is a major motivator for it. I also think that maybe their are some small gems hidden in the deal. Perhaps they have a patent on some interesting tech that seagate wants to expand on.
 
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#4
Doesn't LaCie make overpriced products for the Mac platform? Maybe they want in on the easy money.
 

Frick

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#5
Doesn't LaCie make overpriced products for the Mac platform? Maybe they want in on the easy money.
Naah, they have some affordable stuff.
 

newtekie1

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#6
Any time you can eliminate competition, even minor competition, it is a good business move.
 

brandonwh64

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#7
Wow lacie products will suck now.
 
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#8
Seagate isn't that bad. They aren't top of the line either.
Maybe I just buy Seagate products that happen to come from good batches.
 

Kreij

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#9
My guess would be that Seagate wants a presence in more markets and LaCie probably has some IP they would like to own and exploit.

I haven't had any problems with Seagate drives either. I've got lots of them that have been running for years.
 

adrianx

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#10
so simple...

LaCie get the Wuala system for cloud storage, Seagate get LaCie and with that will have access to Wuala. Seagate in the past use some software for cloud storage. But now will have a new and secure storage platform.