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Tsinghua-owned Unisplendour to sink $3.775b into Western Digital

Storage firm Western Digital has entered into an agreement with Unisplendour Corporation, a subsidiary of China's Tsinghua University, in a deal which would see the conglomerate own a 15 percent stake in the US firm.

California-based storage manufacturer Western Digital has entered into an agreement with Unisplendour Corporation, which would see the latter make a $3.775 billion equity investment in Western Digital.

As a result of the deal, Unisplendour -- the asset management arm of the Tsinghua University's Tsinghua Unigroup in China -- will purchase newly issued common stock for $92.50 per share, and hold an approximate 15 percent stake in Western Digital's issued and outstanding shares of common stock.

"The equity investment by Unisplendour will help facilitate our growth as we look to capitalise on the many opportunities and changes within the global storage industry," Western Digital president and CEO Steve Milligan said.

The storage firm said Unisplendour will nominate a representative to join the Western Digital board of directors and the nominee will be subject to a "five-year position standstill" and voting restrictions. If Unisplendour's ownership in Western Digital falls below 10 percent, however, the board representative will no longer hold their position.

Additionally, Western Digital said Unisplendour has agreed to a five-year lock-up on its shares, with a limited number of shares becoming available for transfer each year, with proceeds from the investment reportedly to be injected into strengthening Western Digital's balance sheet. The closing of the investment transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, though.

"We are excited to establish a relationship with Western Digital, a leading company in the storage industry with a capable and talented management team and workforce," Weiguo Zhao, chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup and Unisplendour Corporation said.

"We believe this long-term investment will serve as a constructive collaboration model for Chinese and US companies to work together for success."

In May, Unisplendour and HP announced a partnership which would see the couple dominate the Chinese enterprise, storage, and server marketplace.

As a result of the agreement, a new business called H3C was formed, which was comprised of H3C Technologies and HP's China-based server, storage, and technology services businesses. Under the agreement, Unisplendour purchased a 51 percent stake in the new company for approximately $2.3 billion, which saw the business valued at $4.5 billion.

In July, it was reported that Tsinghua Unigroup was gearing up to offer Micron Technology $23 billion to wholly acquire the company. If approved, the deal would be the largest Chinese takeover of a US-based company.

For the final quarter of the fiscal year, Western Digital's sales fell short of expectations, which was attributed to a "weak PC market". The Californian firm reported earnings of $220 million on revenue of $3.2 billion.

For the 2015 fiscal year, the storage giant reported earnings of $1.5 billion, on revenue of $14.6 billion.