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Western Digital is buying flash storage maker SanDisk for $19 billion

Two of today's biggest names in data storage are joining together. Hard drive manufacturer Western Digital announced this morning that it has entered into an agreement to acquire SanDisk, a competitor focused on flash storage. The agreement values SanDisk at $19 billion, which Western Digital will pay for in a mixture of cash and stock. The deal will allow Western Digital to better compete in the storage market by giving it access to SanDisk's flash products, whereas its existing line still leans heavily on slower hard disk drives.

In the past year, SanDisk has been having inventory and production issues, leading to a major dip in its stock price. That's led it to be seen as a prime acquisition target by industry analysts, Reuters reports, which suggested that it could be used to help other storage companies improve their standing in the enterprise market using SanDisk's flash memory. Western Digital doesn't hone in on one particular reason for the acquisition, instead broadly stating that SanDisk's flash business will help it with everything from consumer products to data centers.