Editor's Update - 11/27 - 7:45PMWe just had a call with some key team members at OCZ. Our contacts inform us that OCZ plans to continue operations in a "business as usual" mode. In fact representatives from OCZ noted specifically that the company will continue to manufacture product for existing customers, support warranties for existing customers, support customer service requirements and otherwise continue to function normally.
The team at OCZ was actually fairly positive with respect to today's news and while the word "bankruptcy" typically conjures up a notion of the end times, it actually was portrayed more as a new beginning for OCZ. It was specifically noted that Toshiba values the company's key personnel, as well as strategic OCZ IP. We'd agree that many of the players still left at OCZ are top-notch people and the combined IP base from previous acquisitions of Indilinx and PLX specifically should bode very well for Toshiba. One issue that OCZ, and others have struggled with in the solid state storage space, is a consistent supply of NAND and control at the source. This could, in some ways, be a stabilizing factor for the entity that emerges from this transaction. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds but we've been assured that Toshiba values OCZ's technology IP base as well as key employees.
Further, reading between the lines, though nothing was specifically claimed or promised, it sounded like the deal with Toshiba was imminent.
Historically, OCZ has had a bumpy road, with reportedly less than ethical management at the top that was ousted in September of 2012. The remaining management team, a small group of people we place a lot of trust in, actually, was left to pick up the pieces with a high interest, short leash loan. It was just too much to pull back together obviously. However, fortunately, now it looks like Toshiba may be the benefactor at bargain basement prices likely, but with very valuable solid state storage IP and a few good people to help get things back on track.
If you're going to announce rough news, now is a pretty great time to do it. Bumping up against a holiday weekend here in the United States, OCZ Technology Group has announced that it has filed for bankruptcy. The company's solid state drives have been amongst the industry's finest, and they've actually been a major player in the storage arena for many years now. Still, a low-margin sector leaves little room for error, and today marks a sad ending to a performance brand that seemed to resonate well with hardcore gamers and power users.
Following the news, Toshiba has made an official offer to "acquire substantially all of OCZ's assets in a bankruptcy proceeding," with negotiations already carried out and agreed to. Here's a bit on that straight from OCZ: "The agreement is subject to various conditions: the preservation of the value of the business, including the retention of employees, the negotiation and execution of definitive documentation, the filing of bankruptcy petitions by the Company and certain of its subsidiaries, Toshiba's offer being accepted by the bankruptcy court as the highest and best offer under the circumstances after an auction process conducted under the relevant provisions of the United States Bankruptcy Code, and other customary closing conditions."
If something were to go awry at the eleventh hour and a deal with Toshiba isn't reached, it'll continue on with the filing and liquidate whatever assets are left.
It's unclear what Toshiba plans to do with OCZ's technologies, assets, IP, and employees, but we're hoping that OCZ isn't left to die on the vine. Toshiba's storage offerings have been pretty stout of late, but melding OCZ's expertise in the prosumer and enterprise business could only help matters. Here's hoping Toshiba enables what remains of OCZ to thrive under its corporate umbrella.