Hitachi GST Adds External Storage With Fabrik Acquisition

Fabrik, Santa Ana, Calif., is a privately held supplier of personal and professional storage solutions sold under the G-Technology and SimpleTech brand names.

The acquisition comes at a time when falling PC sales are causing a corresponding drop in hard drive sales.

Hitachi GST is best known as a mobile and desktop PC hard drive maker. It was formed in 2003 when Hitachi and IBM combined their hard drive operations into a single company.

For Hitachi GST, the acquisition represents a chance to expand its business into the fast-growing consumer storage business, said Brendan Collins, vice president of product marketing for Hitachi GST.

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"Of all the areas we play in -- desktop, commercial, consumer -- consumer is the last for us to get into," Collins said. "This lets us expand our business. It's also good for Fabrik, as it lets them leverage our global presence to expand their business as well."

Fabrik currently uses hard drives from a variety of manufacturers in its external storage line, Collins said. However, he expects that will change once the acquisition closes.

"There's a lot of opportunity for synergy," he said. "We will probably sell a lot more desktop and mobile drives with Fabrik than we did before. Fabrik sourced hard drives from all the vendors. After the acquisition, it will probably be almost exclusive with Hitachi GST."

Hitachi GST is in good company as it looks to expand beyond its traditional hard drive focus. It joins both Western Digital and Seagate as hard drive manufacturers with external storage products for business customers and consumers.

One other thing Hitachi GST gets with the acquisition is Mike Cordano, Fabrik CEO and co-founder, who is slated to join Hitachi GST as a key member of the executive management team. Cordano, whose actual title at Hitachi GST is not yet being unveiled, previously served as executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for Maxtor, where he was a key part of the team that developed that company's successful "OneTouch" external storage and backup solution, Collins said.

Seagate acquired Maxtor in 2006.

The move into the consumer space is the second major change for Hitachi GST in the last couple of months. Hitachi GST and Intel in December said they had agreed to jointly develop enterprise-class solid-state hard drives.

The solid-state hard drives, which are expected to be available for OEM qualifications during the first quarter of 2010, will be branded with the Hitachi name.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. It is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2009.