EMC’s $1.8 bln offer for Data Domain tops NetApp

* EMC offers $30 per share/cash to buy Data Domain
* EMC’s offer a 20 percent premium to NetApp’s

* Data Domain shares rise in extended trade (Adds background, quotes, updated share prices)

NEW YORK, June 1 (Reuters) – EMC Corp (EMC.N) has offered to buy Data Domain Inc (DDUP.O) for $1.8 billion in cash, seeking to bolster its data back-up offerings and throwing a wrench into NetApp Inc’s (NTAP.O) plans to buy the data storage company for $1.5 billion.

EMC, the world’s largest maker of corporate data storage, is offering $30 a share for Data Domain, which represents a 20 percent premium to NetApp’s cash-and-stock offer, the company said in a statement issued after market close on Monday.

Data Domain shares jumped to $30.51 a share in after-hours trading from $26.35 at the close of regular trading.

In a letter to Data Domain Chief Executive Frank Slootman, EMC CEO Joseph Tucci said their offer is a “far superior alternative” to NetApp’s.

It also offers better deal certainty since it’s an all-cash offer, Tucci said, compared with NetApp’s cash-and-stock offer.

NetApp announced on May 20 it would buy Data Domain for $1.5 billion, or $25 per share in cash and stock. The breakup fee for that deal is $57 million, according to a filing.

Tucci also took issue with Data Domain, saying that EMC was not given the opportunity to explore a combination before the NetApp deal was announced, “particularly since I believe you should have been aware of our interest.”

A combination of EMC and Data Domain would offer customers comprehensive data archiving and back-up software as this sector consolidates, Tucci later said on a conference call.

“This acquisition is all about accelerating growth,” Tucci said.

ThinkEquity analyst Rajesh Ghai said an EMC acquisition made sense, perhaps even more so than one by NetApp.

“A player larger than NetApp with ostensibly a larger distribution base, such as EMC, could potentially leverage Data Domain more effectively than NetApp,” he said.

EMC said it will commence a tender offer for all outstanding Data Domain shares. EMC did not specify the timing of the tender offer, but officials said it would happen soon.

The deal would be add to 2010 earnings, and be neutral to 2009 earnings, EMC said.

NetApp and Data Domain officials were not immediately available for comment.
EMC shares closed Monday’s session up 5.7 percent at $12.42 on the New York Stock Exchange, while NetApp shares closed at $20.69 on the Nasdaq, up 6.1 percent. (Reporting by Anupreeta Das, Jim Finkle and Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Carol Bishopric)

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