October saw two major acquisitions that rocked the storage industry worldwide. Dell acquired EMC for $67 billion, the largest tech merger in history, and last week, Western Digital bought SanDisk for $19 billion.
As the global giants are enjoying an increase in share value, we cannot overlook the major contribution Israeli innovation and technology has had in these two major plays.
In 2006, SanDisk acquired Israeli M-Systems for approximately $1.5 billion. Dov Moran, known for inventing the flash drive, took M-Systems well into Israel’s prestigious Unicorn Club (startups worth more than $1 billion) and created one of Israel’s big technology success stories.
SanDisk was no stranger to Israel: SanDisk’s co-founder, Eli Harari, is an Israeli himself. Harari knew to push forward and establish leadership in the space. Awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Obama in 2014, Eli had a profound impact on the global storage industry.
The acquisition of SanDisk by WD enables the companies to double their addressable market and spread across a variety of solutions, namely hard disk drives, solid-state drives, cloud data center storage solutions, and flash storage.
Considering that this move was announced on the heels of Dell’s whopping $67 billion acquisition of EMC, what we are witnessing is a major consolidation in the storage sector.
Much like WD, Dell now also enjoys Israeli roots.
EMC has acquired multiple Israeli companies over the years. In 2006, EMC bought Kashya for more than $150 million. Kashya, a provider of enterprise-class data replication and protection software was not only EMC’s first Israeli acquisition, it also spawned EMC establishing an R&D center in Israel.
Since then, EMC began gobbling up Israeli companies, acquiring more than ten startups overall for an amount exceeding $1 billion. These included Cyota (through its acquisition of RSA Security in 2006), nLayers (2006), proActivity (2006), Illuminator (2007), Zettapoint (2011), XtremeIO (2012), More IT (2012) and ScaleIO (2013).
All this feeds directly into the trend we’ve identified when technology giants acquire startups in Israel: It wets their appetite for more Israeli innovation. More often than not, by founding local labs, tech giants find themselves on the ground and able to identify additional opportunities in Israel. Consequently, the companies feel more comfortable conducting additional M&A activity in Israel.
The leadership Israel showcases in the storage space has been an integral strength for Israel for over 30 years, and now this expertise is fueling the growth of two of the world’s IT leaders.
As Israeli entrepreneurs recognize the value tech giants are able to extract from the technology in their proliferation efforts, we expect to see many more acquisitions and unicorns coming out of Israel in upcoming years.