Seagate Technology said Thursday it would buy closely held EVault Inc., a closely held provider of online backup services, for $185 million in cash.
The move marks the biggest step yet by the largest maker of computer hard disk drives to boost its nascent storage services business, a Seagate executive said. The acquisition, expected to close by the end of March, is Seagate's second in the services arena.
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In 2005, Seagate purchased Mirra, a provider of digital content protection products for the home and small businesses. Seagate also has acquired Action Front, a professional data recovery company.
"This is really planting the seeds for a market that I think is pretty exciting," said Brian Dexheimer, a Seagate executive vice president.
Seagate Services intends to offer services in areas of data recovery, online backup and recovery, and archiving for small- to medium-sized businesses with the EVault purchase.
Founded in 1997, EVault is based in Emeryville, California, and has more than 250 employees. Dexheimer said that Seagate, which is based in the Cayman Islands but has its corporate headquarters in Scotts Valley, California, plans to operate EVault as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Shares of Seagate have risen about 34 percent so far this year, compared with an 11% increase in the Merrill Lynch Technology 100 Index, of which Seagate is a component.