About Western Digital Corporation

When it comes to data storage, Western Digital has drive and more than a splash of flash. The company is one of the largest independent makers of hard-disk drives (HDDs), which record, store, and recall volumes of data. It is also active in the fast-growing area of solid-state drives (SSDs), which are faster than HDDs. Drives for PCs account for a major portion of Western Digital's sales, although the company also makes devices used in servers, cloud computing data centers, and home entertainment products such as set-top boxes and video game consoles. The company sells to manufacturers and through retailers and distributors. It generates more than half its sales from the Asia/Pacific region.

Operations

Western Digital has combined its subsidiaries, WD Technologies and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), and 2015 acquisition SanDisk, into one reportable segment. The company reports its sales in terms of end markets. The company’s biggest market is for client devices such as PCs, smartphone, gaming devices, and security equipment; they account for about half of its sales. Data center devices account for about 30% of sales and client solutions, which are external memory such as USB flash drives and wireless drives, generate about 20% of sales.

Geographic Reach

Western Digital’s largest market is Asia (which represents more than half of sales, including more than 20% in China). The US is Western Digital's second biggest market, accounting for about 20% of revenue. The EMEA region accounts for less 20%.

Western Digital has manufacturing facilities in the US, as well as in China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand; it has sales offices worldwide.

Sales and Marketing

Western Digital sells to OEMs, as well as through distributors and retailers. The OEM customer segment is its largest (two-thirds of revenue) with Hewlett-Packard as a major buyer of storage devices for PCs and servers. Distributors and retailers account for about 20% and 14% of sales, respectively.

Financial Performance

Western Digital arrested three years of declining revenue with a big sales boost in 2017 (ended June). The company reported $19 billion in revenue for the year, a 47% increase from 2016. The bulk of the added $6.1 billion in revenue came from the sales of NAND-flash products from the SanDisk acquisition of 2015. At the same time, Wester Digital had lower revenue from PC and enterprise HDD products.

Along with revenue, profit rose at Western Digital in 2017, jumping about 65% from 2016 to $397 million. The revenue gain helped the company weather amortization expense on acquired intangible assets, charges related to cost-saving initiatives, stock-based compensation, and acquisition-related charges.

Cash flow from operating activities rose to $3.4 billion in 2017 from $1.98 billion in 2016, boosted by the rise in net income, adjusted for non-cash charges.

Strategy

Buying SanDisk and its flash drive products proved to be a boon for Western Digital. SanDisk products helped drive Western Digital’s revenue and profit higher in 2017 (ended June), and Western Digital looks for increasing returns in the years ahead. SanDisk provided Western Digital with key flash storage technology, beefing up Western’s offerings as the market transitions from the traditional hard disk drives to flash.

In a deal that Western Digital could not complete, it lost out on buying Toshiba’s chip business after a long-running fight concluded in late 2017. Suffering from a host of financial problems, Toshiba put it chip unit up for sale to raise cash. Western Digital, of course, made a bid, but Toshiba sold the unit to a group led by Bain Capital. Western Digital reached a deal with the new owners to continue joint ventures in research and development and manufacturing with the chip unit.

Western Digital continues to develop and release new NAND flash products, including the next generation of its 3D NAND technology, called BiCS3. The company claimed that it’s the smallest 256 gigabit chip available. The company is devoting more of its 3D NAND manufacturing capacity conversion to BiCS3, allowing it to move more quickly with the newer product. That’s not to say Western Digital is deep-sixing its 2D NAND technology. The company expects to produce for certain markets for some time.

In HDD, Western Digital is heeding the market, which has driven down prices for part of the HDD market. The company had moderated its production of products at the low end of the 2.5-inch HDD market and the 8TB capacity drive for enterprise market.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Western Digital has long used acquisitions to add new product lines and extend its geographic reach.

In 2017 Western Digital made two deals in short order, acquiring UpThere, a developer of cloud storage systems, and Tegile Systems, a maker of flash storage, announcing the deals of the same day. UpThere makes apps for storing and accessing date in the cloud and making it available from multiple devices and operating systems. With Tegile, Western Digital extends its reach into enterprise data storage. Tegile's IntelliFlash products offer quick access to match Western Digital's dig data programs. Western Digital also gains 1,700 new customers from the deal.

In 2015 Western Digital bought SanDisk for $19 billion in cash and stock. SanDisk, which had $6.6 billion in annual revenues, was a leader in non-volatile memory, and helped Western Digital offer a more comprehensive product line. Western Digital also gains a long-term source of NAND products and technology. NAND is a type of flash memory that is used for high-capacity data storage, a market growing with the rise of cloud computing, big data, and analytics.

In another 2015 deal, Western Digital acquired Amplidata, a developer of object storage software for public and private cloud data centers, for about $267 million The acquisition is expected to help the HGST subsidiary to expand into higher value data storage platforms and systems in cloud data centers.

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Western Digital Corporation

5601 Great Oaks Pkwy
San Jose, CA 95119-1003
Phone: 1 (408) 717-6000
Fax: 1 (949) 672-5490

Stats

  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: WDC
  • Stock Exchange: NASDAQ
  • President and CEO: Stephen D. Milligan
  • Chairman: Matthew E. Massengill
  • President and CEO: Stephen D. Milligan
  • 2018 Employees: 71,600

Major Office Locations

  • San Jose, CA

Other Locations

  • Chandler, AZ
  • Fremont, CA
  • Irvine, CA
  • Milpitas, CA
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Longmont, CO
  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Rochester, MN
  • Bellevue, NE
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Austin, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Gladstone, VA
  • Herndon, VA
  • Bengaluru, India
  • Odawara, Japan
  • Shinagawa-Ku, Japan
  • Yokkaichi, Japan
  • Yokohama, Japan
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