Quantum buys UK tape company

Quantum Corp.'s DLT & Storage Systems Group on Wednesday reiterated its new strategy toward enterprise solutions with the announcement that it will acquire M4 Data (Holdings) Ltd., a privately held data storage company based in the United Kingdom.

Quantum is looking to leverage M4 Data's complementary products and technologies to enhance the range of storage solutions offered to Quantum's enterprise customers.

M4 Data provides tape automation products for the data storage market. The company is focused on scalable that also incorporate high cartridge capacities per cubic foot. Quantum said that the shift to a higher density, smaller footprint line of products would give them an edge in the increasingly-cutthroat tape automation market.

Higher densities allow data center managers to achieve greater cost and operational efficiencies by storing more data in the same amount of floor space.

Michael Brown, chairman and CEO of Quantum said that M4 Data's modular technology is what caught Quantum's eye.

"We were impressed with their technology. We're going to gradually integrate [M4's] product line with our own and will eventually move toward the denser architecture," said Brown.

He added that Quantum would begin selling M4 products within the first quarter of this year. M4 offers a range of libraries that run the gamut in format support including DLT, LTO, and AIT formats. M4 has 130 employees worldwide as well as manufacturing facilities in Blackbushe Yateley, Hampshire, United Kingdom; and subsidiaries in Wiesloch, Germany, and Melbourne, Fla. Brown said that no cutbacks or layoffs would directly result from the acquisition.

Director of Storage Management for the Boston-based Hurwitz Group, Michael Karp, said that the real strategy behind this move by Quantum may have more depth than just acquiring M4's product line.

"Quantum has built a significant presence in the backup world during the last few years, particularly in the DLT sector. M4 Data has almost no presence in the U.S., but is something of a player offshore. The new acquisition is interesting, but may have more to do with positioning Quantum more vigorously in the international marketplace than it does with any product synergies," said Karp.

Under the terms of the agreement, Quantum will acquire all the outstanding stock of M4 Data for approximately $56 million, including $13.4 million in cash.

The acquisition is expected to close by March 31, 2001, pending various tax and regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

M4 Data will operate under Quantum's Enterprise Solutions Group, headed by Kevin Daly. Dr. Duke Ebenezer, president, CEO and founder of M4 Data will continue to lead M4 and will report to Daly.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

M4 Data Holdings Ltd.

Quantum Corp.

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