Looks like the rumor mill was right. Western Digital is buying SanDisk for $19 billion, or $86.50 per share, according to a joint announcement by the companies this morning. WD says that the takeover will give it "deep expertise in non-volatile memory" and allow it to play in "higher-growth segments"—code for SSDs, we're guessing.
SanDisk's joint venture with Toshiba will be carried on as part of the deal. WD says continuing the partnership gives it access to a large, stable NAND flash supply, and it also says that it'll get a competitive advantage by vertically integrating that flash into its operations.
The deal will be financed through cash, debt, and Western Digital stock. The hard drive maker expects to take on $18.4 billion of new debt as part of the buyout. WD CEO Steve Milligan will continue to lead the combined company, while SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra will join the WD board of directors. If all goes well, the companies expect the deal to be complete by the third quarter of 2016.