LaCie, makers of sleek, stylish, and high performance accessories, is mashing up with Seagate, one of the global leaders in hard drive and storage products. The takeover, announced today, involves Seagate buying a controlling interest in LaCie from the current chairman and CEO, Philippe Spruch. Pending regulatory approval, Seagate will continue the acquisition by offering the remaining shareholders a cash buyout; any holdouts will then be subject to a squeeze-out process, if needed.
LaCie has long been known for professional-grade products (with pricetags to match). Their lineup has included professional CRT and LCD monitors with precise color calibration systems, some of the very first high-speed drives using Apple’s FireWire and Thunderbolt ports, and a stunning array of network-attached storage and RAID options for professional users who demand speed. Not content to offer just pro-grade gear, LaCie has also injected style into their products, featuring drive enclosures designed by the likes of Porsche, designed to look like Lego bricks, and even some of the first ruggedized, bus-powered FireWire drives back when Apple first announced the standard.
Seagate, meanwhile, has been pursuing more technical goals, becoming the first manufacturer to ship a 1TB per-disk hard drive (not total capacity, mind you, but 1 TB squeezed onto a single platter), and also holding the distinction of shipping the world’s thinnest 2.5″ laptop hard drive (crucial for the ever-shrinking world of MacBook Air clones). According to the press release, Seagate sees value in the LaCie acquisition primarily through the addition of premium consumer storage, like LaCie’s beautifully-designed Starck Mobile drive, as well as well as through the acquisition of LaCie’s excellent software products, which include automatic backup software that approaches Time Machine for elegance, and sophisticated NAS software solutions.
Most recently, LaCie has been one of the first adopters of the new Thunderbolt connection standard, offering the first TB-equipped RAID solution. As with FireWire, Apple’s new standard suffers from the fatal combination of an abundance of speed, lofty pricetag, and relative dearth of options compared to the fast-enough USB standard.
In statement announced with the press release, LaCie CEO Spruch said, “….[the merger creates] significant scale and open[s] up new markets. We look forward to making the resources of a much larger company available to our customers around the world.”.
Here is to hoping this scale helps make blazing fast Thunderbolt accessories available at a decent price!