The Deal: OCZ's Going Nowhere Fast
Yet, as one industry observer noted, six months is still a long time for a restatement effort.
That, combined with recent consolidation in the industry plus Schmitt's resume, may be more indicative of a quiet attempt to shop the company.
Or, as one source put it, that's Schmitt's MO, turn around a company and sell it.
In 2005, Schmitt, who started off in sales at Cypress Semiconductor (CY) took charge at analog chip design company Sipex Corp. when it was having product delivery problems and an SEC investigation into accounting problems. Almost two years later, he sold Sipex to Exar (EXAR) for $175 million. He headed up the merged company until he left for PLX, which he tried to sell to Integrated Device Technology (IDTI) for $330 million. That deal was called off when the Federal Trade Commission said it would challenge the merger.And, as plugged in as Schmitt is to the semiconductor dealmaking world, he has an eye on recent deals in the sector, insiders say. Last month, Western Digital (WDC) paid $6.85 per share or $340 million for sTec (STEC), after New York-based hedge fund Balch Hill Partners put up a slate for its board. sTec, like OCZ, was struggling financially. sTec also had its share of management problems--CEO Manouch Moshayedi resigned last year after the SEC alleged that he engaged in insider trading in a secondary share offering. Earlier this month, Smart Worldwide Holdings, a portfolio company of Silver Lake Partners, sold its subsidiary Smart Storage Systems to SanDisk (SNDK) for $307 million in cash and equity-related incentives. There is a major difference, however, between OCZ and takeover targets like sTec and Smart Storage. OCZ derives about 80% of its revenue from its retail customers, says Piper Jaffray (PJC) senior analyst Andrew Nowinski--whereas the others primarily cater to enterprises, which is what their buyers wanted. Schmitt talked about his hopes for moving further into enterprise at a recent Piper Jaffray conference, saying he expected the mix would move toward 50/50 consumer/enterprise within a year. But, Nowinski says he expects that to be a struggle. "Given the cash problems they've had, trying to convince an IT administrator to employ a lot of SSDs into their environment -- it's risky," he says.
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