Fusion-io’s ‘flash-y’ and jumpy M&A currency

Contact: Brenon Daly

In the same breath that it announced quarterly results for the first time, Fusion-io also announced its first-ever acquisition. The flash storage specialist reached for IO Turbine, a caching software startup that had only emerged from stealth mode earlier this summer. Our storage analyst, Henry Baltazar, points out that although IO Turbine was only just getting started, its software had been bundled with Fusion-io’s PCIe flash cards. Fusion-io says the pairing boosts performance, and should open up new markets in virtualized environments.

Fusion-io will use both cash and stock to cover the $95m price of its inaugural purchase. The exact makeup of the consideration wasn’t released, but it’s basically one-third cash and two-thirds equity. That breakdown is noteworthy, given that Fusion-io – with some $220m in cash, thanks to its IPO two months ago – could have easily just used greenbacks to pay for IO Turbine.

Instead, the startup felt comfortable enough to take the majority of its payment in Fusion-io shares, which have been noticeably volatile since their June debut. Consider this: During last Thursday’s rough ride for the overall market, Fusion-io was particularly jumpy ahead of its earnings announcement. Shares opened at $28 each, dropped as much as 14% in the first hour of trading, actually popped above the opening trading price at midway through the session, and then slid almost uninterruptedly to close at the low of the day.

Granted, the trading last Thursday for individual equities was overshadowed by the historic 500-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average that day. But we would note that the Dow was in the red from the opening bell, while Fusion-io actually rallied into the green at one point before sliding. Given those sorts of swings, it might not be a bad idea for the new holders of Fusion-io shares to look into a hedging plan for their holdings.