Stock Groups

Elliott offers $1 billion to help separate Western Digital’s Flash business -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A Western Digital office building in Irvine, California (USA), January 24, 2017 REUTERS/Mike Blake/File photo

(Reuters) – Activist investor Elliott Investment Management urged Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ) announced Tuesday that it would separate the Flash division and will invest $1 billion in order to sell or spin off the company.

Following Elliott’s letter, the shares of the San Jose-based company rose by 10% to $59.28 before the bell.

Elliott invested over $1B in the Flash business as incremental equity capital. The hedge fund estimates that the Flash business would have a value of $17 billion to $22 billion.

If the division is split, according to an investment firm, the stock price for the company would rise over $100 per share.

Western Digital (which makes USB drives and hard drives) did not immediately reply to our request for comment.

Elliott claimed that company performance has suffered when it comes to balancing two separate businesses in the same organization.

Elliott addressed a letter to the company’s board, saying that “this underperformance is especially disappointing given the Company’s great potential within both businesses.”

Western Digital was a dominant player in traditional storage and bought SanDisk Corp in an $19 billion deal six years ago to improve its capacity to produce flash memory storage chips for tablets and smartphones.

Elliott claimed that 2016’s deal was nothing but transformative, however none of these benefits have materialized as Western Digital continues to struggle financially and strategically due to the dual challenges of running two separate businesses.