You can look forward to at least two more weeks of fun and games around the tug-of-war match between data storage giant EMC (NYSE: EMC ) and fast-growing upstart NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP ) . EMC just refiled its Hart-Scott-Rodino buyout notification with the FTC, so Data Domain (Nasdaq: DDUP ) is still up for grabs, tempting storage efficiency products and all.
The refiling simply restarts the deadline for the $30-per-share hostile takeover offer to 15 days after the filing. I've been waiting for EMC's next move to see if it's one of the following:
- A higher buyout price, meaning that EMC just wants to push NetApp out of its already-signed merger deal regardless of whether EMC actually intends on going through with its revised offer or not.
- New terms of agreement. The current tender offer contains a few clauses that would let EMC back out of the deal at any time, and Data Domain's board probably won't endorse any EMC offer that doesn't trade these for comfy guarantees that papers will be signed and the merger consummated.
- And of course, Data Domain's board and shareholders would love to see both of these things happening. That would breathe new life into the bidding war, for sure.
There's no new offer price, no new terms of agreement, and nothing else in the filing that would give us a hint as to what EMC really is up to. But EMC just gave itself another couple of weeks to think things over.
In the meantime, Data Domain's annual meeting is scheduled for July 2. The meeting's proxy filing clearly states that any and all merger debates and votes belong in a separate meeting, not in this yearly shareholder event. We'll see about that; I can't imagine that EMC and NetApp wouldn't send a few representatives to that meeting to stir up some discussion about the pink elephant in the room.
The plot thickens. Silicon Valley hasn't seen this much fun since Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) bought Compaq.
Read up on the zigzag timeline of Data Domain's fate: