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Data storage is
NetApp's(NTAP - Get Report) bread and butter. The firm sells the hardware, software, and services that firms' IT departments need to store data and back-up data. As increasingly plugged-in services like cloud computing drive demand for more and more storage space, a rising tide should keep lifting all boats, NTAP included.
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NetApp is one of the few pure-play storage firms that have been around for a while. As a result, the firm has the advantage of a large customer Rolodex and an established niche in the data game: providing network-attached storage devices that enterprise customers can buy piecemeal rather than just as part of a hugely expensive infrastructure project. So while new comers are coming from the PC-building industry to try to snag share of the storage market, NTAP has some decent defenses already established.
From a financial standpoint, NetApp is in stellar shape with just $1.2 billion in debt (none of it long-term) more than offset by $5.4 billion in cash. Despite a relatively high P/E, the fact that more than a third of NTAP's market capitalization is paid for in cash changes the game a bit.
Soros and company agree. The fund bought 4.48 million shares of NTAP for a $142 million stake.