The year of the privately held storage supplier?

Contact: Simon Robinson

The storage M&A market is expected to favor smaller private providers this year, as recent activity has reduced the number of available midsize public targets. Indeed, in the past 24 months, Data Domain, 3PAR, Isilon Systems and Compellent have all been taken off the market. And buyout speculation caused by this recent spate of activity has bloated valuations at remaining public firms, such as CommVault, making them less likely to be acquired next.

But while recent public storage acquisitions may have halted the sales of their public peers, they may have actually benefited private suppliers. For example, EMC’s reach for Isilon highlighted the growing requirement for high-scale storage systems in markets where the exponential growth of highly rich – or ‘big’ – data is a key pressing challenge. Indeed, that deal could be important in refocusing attention on the remaining privately held players.

We took a look at several of the remaining private targets in a recent Sector IQ and noticed that would-be buyers still have several options to choose from. Though the IPO window has been closed for a couple of years, there are many attractive storage specialists that are fairly mature on both the product and go-to-market fronts, and a closer examination reveals a number of storage system specialists that were formed in the late 1990s that are still making headway today. Click here for our full report on potential targets in the storage sector.