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Seagate sets its eyes on SSDs with $450 million deal for SandForce

A play for LSI’s flash business means that Seagate will be making some serious inroads into the SSD business.


Seagate announced on Thursday that it had entered a “definitive asset purchase agreement” to purchase LSI’s flash biz, the Accelerated Solutions Division (ASD), and its Flash Components Division (FCD) for $450 million from Avago.

LSI is a new property for semiconductor firm Avago Technologies, as it was purchased only last year for $6.6 billion. Avago must not be that interested in SSDs, as it’s letting the two SSD-related divisions go for a fire sale price. In its heyday SandForce was best known for  supplying SSD controllers to third-party manufacturers. This business model has long since been discontinued, but it could very well be revived under Seagate.

Last year at Computex Seagate’s BS Teh, the managing director for the company in Asia, said that he was remaining confident about the future of the hard disk in light of the explosive growth of the SSD market.

“We see an extremely bright future,” he was quoted as saying. “It’s becoming more and more of a realization that SSDs are not going to take over the world.”

But now it looks like Seagate has sold some confidence stock in the future of an all-HDD world, and bought into a future where SSDs play a much larger role. That’s the sentiment that Seagate CEO Steve Luczo expressed in the announcing press release.

“LSI’s ASD business has the broadest PCIe flash product offering and intellectual property in the market today and the FCD business has best-in-class SSD controllers with proven support for a wide range of applications,” he said in the release. “This acquisition immediately boosts Seagate’s range and depth of flash storage capabilities today, and these teams bring to Seagate the expertise to accelerate our roadmap in this important and growing market.”

While there once was a time when Seagate remained still as its rival Western Digital bought up SSD companies by the half-dozen, now Seagate realizes it has to take SSDs more seriously.

Next week at Computex we should be hearing more from Seagate on the topic.

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