HPE To Strengthen Its Flash Storage Lineup With $1 Billion Acquisition Of Nimble

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has signed an agreement to acquire Nimble Storage, the manufacturer of predictive all-flash and hybrid-flash storage systems, for $1.0 billion in cash, the companies said Tuesday.

HPE said the deal would enable it to offer a full range of flash storage systems for customers of all sizes. The move is expected to strengthen HPE's competitive hand in the highly competitive flash storage systems market against rivals Dell EMC, NetApp and Pure Storage.

The overall flash storage market reached $15 billion in 2016, according to market researcher IDC, and is expected to grow to almost $20 billion by 2020 with nearly 17 percent compound annual growth rate.

[Related: HPE Closes $650M SimpliVity Acquisition, Says First Combined Solutions With DL380 Will Ship In May]

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Nimble's flash systems are targeted toward small and mid-size businesses and organizations. HPE said that makes the acquisition complementary to its midrange to high-end 3PAR flash storage systems and its affordable MSA products.

"Nimble Storage's portfolio complements and strengthens our current 3PAR products in the high-growth flash storage market and will help us deliver on our vision of making Hybrid IT simple for our customers," said Meg Whitman, HPE president and CEO, in a statement. "And, this acquisition is exactly aligned with the strategy and capital allocation approach we've laid out. We remain focused on high-growth and higher-margin segments of the market."

HPE also said it plans to incorporate Nimble's InfoSight Predictive Analytics platform across its storage products portfolio. That technology helps IT managers detect and resolve IT infrastructure issues, reducing the amount of time spent on support activities.

The companies said combining the HPE and Nimble product portfolios would allow customers to more easily move and replicate data across hybrid flash and all-flash storage to meet IT demands, more easily manage storage volumes and data compaction to reduce capacity costs, and integrate data protection capabilities with data encryption, replication and integration capabilities provided by third-party applications.

Nimble also recently introduced multi-cloud storage services that support on-premise and public cloud storage capabilities, adding to its support for hybrid IT environments.

"We believe that Nimble's entry to midrange predictive flash storage solutions, coupled with InfoSight, its leading predictive analytics technology, will strengthen HPE's flash storage portfolio by expanding market reach and enabling a transformed, analytics-based customer experience," said Antonio Neri, executive vice president and general manager of HPE's Enterprise Group, in a blog post.

"Together, we'll be able to bring flash optimized data services, which provide the right balance of price, performance, and agility, to customers across SMB, enterprise and service provider segments," he said.

San Jose, Calif.-based Nimble was founded in 2007 and has approximately 1,300 employees. The vendor recorded sales of $402 million in its most recently fiscal year, representing 25 percent year-over-year growth.

HPE is paying $12.50 per share in cash, representing a net cash purchase price at closing of $1.0 billion, according to the HPE announcement. In addition, HPE will assume or pay out Nimble's unvested equity awards valued at approximately $200 million.

HPE will issue a tender offer to acquire all outstanding Nimble shares and completion of the deal requires that stockholders tender a majority of outstanding shares. Stockholders representing approximately 21 percent of outstanding shares have already entered into a tender and support agreement.

The acquisition is also subject to customary regulatory approvals. HPE said it expects to complete the tender offer, merger and closing of the transaction in April.

Once the acquisition is complete Nimble will operate as a wholly owned HPE subsidiary. HPE said it expects the deal to be accretive to its earnings in the first full fiscal year following the close.