Could Seagate be preparing a merger?

— 5:20 PM on March 24, 2009

Earlier today, Seagate announced a pair of BlackArmor network access storage devices. The new products have capacities ranging from 2TB to 8TB, and Seagate is targeting them at small businesses.

Something else happened today, though. As optionMonster reports, Seagate's stock also soared by a significant margin and saw increased trading volume:

Seagate Technology climbed as much as 11 percent today . . . Call options in the disc driver maker exceed normal trading volume by 10 times. . . . By mid session, the volume had already topped the volume of the past 30 days -- 6 times over.

optionMonster comments that these changes are "not likely to have been caused by a product release." That leaves the option that Seagate is considering a "takeover candidate." The research site doesn't speculate on who the potential buyer or buyout candidate might be, but only a handful of major players remain in the mechanical storage market: Western Digital, Hitachi, Samsung, and Toshiba (which recently took Fujitsu's storage division under its wing).

Seagate is admittedly the leader in terms of market share, but its low share price (around $5.8) could make it a tempting acquisition candidate. Otherwise, the company could conceivably snatch up another firm—perhaps a solid-state drive maker, which could make sense considering Seagate has been planning its own enterprise SSDs since last year.

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