Arik Hesseldahl

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Violin Memory to Acquire GridIron Systems

flash_madnessViolin Memory, the company that makes flash-memory-based storage arrays aimed at the enterprise, and which is on track to an IPO sometime this year, has just made an acquisition.

Sources familiar with the matter say that Violin has acquired GridIron Systems, a company that specializes in accelerating applications that run in data centers. The deal will be announced on Monday, but financial terms won’t be disclosed.

Chatter about the acquisition first emerged on the blog of Philippe Nicolas, a French expert on the storage market and head of product strategy at Scality. He wrote on Jan. 10 that GridIron had reached a deal to be acquired, but didn’t name a buyer. He estimated the purchase price at between $200 million and $300 million.

It’s Violin’s third acquisition. The last one was the assets of Gear6 in 2010, and before that, the acquisition of the original Violin Memory stream of intellectual property. Violin is taking on about 20 employees from GridIron, and will use its intellectual property in its own storage-array products. The deal brings Violin’s total headcount to about 450.

GridIron Systems was founded in 2007, and had been backed by investments from Mohr Davidow, Foundation Capital and Trinity Ventures. It had raised about $30 million in capital.

Violin was reported to have filed for an IPO in October, but did so under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, so the related filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission aren’t available to the public. Last year, it raised about $80 million at an implied valuation of $800 million in a Series D round from GE Asset Management; Toshiba, the Japanese chip and electronics maker; and networking company Juniper Networks, as well as Highland Capital and SAP Ventures, the investment arm of German software giant SAP.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald