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Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Samsung to Buy Significant Stake Of Seagate, Announces HDD and NAND Storage Strategic Alignment

The hard disk and SSD business is taking a new shape as Seagate Technology plc and Samsung Electronics have entered into a definitive agreement under which Seagate and Samsung will expand and strengthen their strategic relationship by aligning their respective ownership, investments and key technologies.

Major elements of the agreement include:

- Samsung combining its hard disk drive (HDD) operations into Seagate
- Extending and enhancing the existing patent cross-license agreement between the companies
- A NAND flash memory supply agreement under which Samsung will provide Seagate with its semiconductor products for use in Seagate's enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid state hybrid drives and other products
- A disk drive supply agreement under which Seagate will supply disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics
- Expanded cooperation between the companies to co-develop enterprise storage solutions
- Samsung receiving significant equity ownership in Seagate
- A shareholder agreement under which an executive of Samsung will be nominated to join Seagate?s Board of Directors

The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately $1.375 billion USD, which will be paid by Seagate to Samsung in the form of 50% stock and 50% cash.

These transactions and related strategic agreements will enable both companies to better align their current and future product development efforts and roadmaps, accelerate time-to-market for new products and position the companies to better address rapidly evolving opportunities in markets including, but not limited to, mobile computing, cloud computing and solid state storage. In connection with its strategic alliance with Samsung, Seagate expects also to strengthen its relationship with TDK Corporation/SAE Magnetics (H.K.) Ltd. Together, these transactions and agreements broaden a strategic relationship between Seagate and Samsung that began with a joint development agreement announced in August 2010.

"We are pleased to strengthen our strategic relationship with Samsung in a way that better aligns both companies around technologies and products," said Steve Luczo, Seagate chairman, president and CEO. "We expect to achieve greater scale and deliver a broader range of innovative storage products and solutions to our customers, which facilitates our long-term relationship with Samsung."

"Delivering value to the market and consumers is the primary goal ofthe extensive agreement announced today. Samsung looks forward to extending our existing strategicties with Seagate, to deliver creative technology solutions for a broad diversity of consumer, business and industrial applications," said Oh-hyun, Kwon, president of the semiconductor business of Samsung Electronics.

The transactions and agreements will expand Seagate's customer access in China and Southeast Asia. In addition, the mutual supply agreements enable Seagate to secure an important source of NAND flash supply as the company expands its SSD and solid state hybrid product offerings, and position Seagate to be a more significant supplier of disk drives to Samsung. The agreement also gives Samsung a significant ownership position in Seagate.

Under the terms of the agreement, Samsung will receive consideration consisting of 50% Seagate ordinary shares and 50% cash. Upon closing, Samsung will receive Seagate ordinary shares valued at $687.5 million (45.2 million shares, or approximately 9.6% ownership of Seagate, which is based on Seagate?s 30-day volume weighted average stock price prior to signing), plus $687.5 million in cash. Samsung will have a right to designate a nominee to join Seagate's Board of Directors following closing.

The agreement is subject to customary closing conditions, including review by U.S. and international regulators. The transactions are expected to close by the end of calendar year 2011.

The S. Korean company has struggled in the hard-disk-drive business, which has become even more competitive with Western Digital's plan to buy Hitachi's hard-disk-drive unit (Hitachi GST) for $4.3 billion.

Samsung failed to meet expectations, tentatively reporting lower profits in the first quarter (Q1) this year.

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