Exabyte and Ecrix Sign Definitive Merger Agreement

Aug 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from Exabyte Corporation

    BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Exabyte Corporation
 (Nasdaq:   EXBT), a performance leader in network storage, and Ecrix
 Corporation, a privately held provider of value leading tape solutions for
 midrange servers and high-end workstations, announced today the completion of
 a definitive agreement to combine the two companies.  The merger is motivated
 by the complementary nature of Exabyte's high performance MammothTape(TM) and
 Ecrix's high value VXA(TM) drive technologies and numerous synergies to be
 realized from the combination of the two businesses.
     Under the terms of the merger agreement, Exabyte will issue 10 million
 shares of common stock in exchange for all of the outstanding equity of Ecrix.
 Additionally, certain Ecrix investors and persons related to them will invest
 $9.4 million in new Exabyte Series H preferred stock at $1.00 per share at the
 time of closing.  The preferred stock will be convertible into common stock on
 a share-for-share basis.
     The transaction has been approved by both boards of directors and is
 subject only to the approval of both companies' shareholders and other closing
 conditions.  The merger is expected to close by the end of 2001.
     William L. Marriner, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of
 Exabyte, stated, "I am extremely excited about the benefits to our two
 companies from this merger and the prospects for our combined enterprise.
 Ecrix's VXA tape drive technology has the price, capacity, performance and
 reliability to satisfy the very large installed base of DDS users that are
 searching for a migration path forward.  Ecrix announced last week that Compaq
 has selected both the SCSI and IDE versions of VXA-1 for their commercial
 desktop and workstation product lines, with initial shipments anticipated to
 begin within 30 days.  I expect this pivotal win to lead to other OEM
 opportunities as well as expansion of business through our reseller channels.
 Leveraging Exabyte's name recognition, sales channels, and sales and support
 infrastructure, we see an excellent opportunity to capture significant share
 in this market with VXA-1 and VXA-2, an 80 gigabyte drive which is expected to
 ship to OEMs in late fourth quarter of this year."
     Mr. Marriner further commented, "Ecrix's balance sheet and the infusion of
 $9.4 million of new equity capital will significantly improve our cash
 position.  We also expect to negotiate with our senior lender the
 restructuring of our revolving credit agreement at the time of closing.  I am
 particularly pleased with the quality of our new investors.  Meritage Private
 Equity Fund, Centennial Ventures, and Valley Ventures have considerable
 knowledge and impressive track records in the data storage area and I am
 looking forward to working closely with them."
     "It will be a pleasure to be reunited with Juan Rodriguez, who will be
 joining the board of directors and serving as the company's chief
 technologist.  Juan is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the tape
 industry, having successfully co-founded StorageTek, Exabyte and Ecrix.  This
 will be our third opportunity to work together and I know our individual
 strengths will complement each other nicely.  Juan will play an instrumental
 role in working with me to keep Exabyte at the forefront of technology," said
 Mr. Marriner.
     Mr. Rodriguez commented, "This merger represents an opportunity to further
 accelerate the acceptance of VXA technology by leveraging Exabyte's supply
 chain partnerships, distribution channels, and brand awareness.  In my mind
 the primary benefit of this merger is how complementary our two companies are.
 We share some common partners with very little overlap in our combined product
 offerings.  The result is we can leverage each other's strengths and benefit
 from a more efficient organization."
     "Additionally, a great synergy is available when our drive technologies
 are merged," continued Mr. Rodriguez.  "The combination of VXA's packet
 technology and non-tracking format with Mammoth 2's high performance read and
 write technology enable a foundation for some very exciting products."
     "I have nothing but fond memories of my earlier years with Exabyte," added
 Mr. Rodriguez, "and I'm thrilled to participate in this next phase of the
 company and ensure it sustains the entrepreneurial spirit required to take
 advantage of a rapidly changing storage market."
     Jack Tankersley and William Almon, Sr. will be joining Mr. Rodriguez on a
 newly constituted seven-member Exabyte board of directors at the time of
 closing.  Mr. Tankersley co-founded The Centennial Funds in 1981 and the
 Meritage Private Equity Fund in 1998.  Mr. Almon spent 30 years with IBM,
 served as President of Conner Peripherals, founded StorMedia, Inc. and is
 currently Chairman of Ecrix's Executive Committee of the Board.
     Upon closing of the merger later this year, the company will operate as
 Exabyte Corporation and will continue to utilize both the MammothTape and VXA
 brands.  Additionally, the new equity investment will allow the company to
 capitalize on its strengths in tape automation and to further broaden its
 portfolio of tape libraries utilizing MammothTape(TM), VXA(TM), LTO(TM)
 Ultrium(TM), SDLT(TM) and Advanced Intelligent Tape(TM) drive technologies and
     Mr. Marriner further stated, "We began early this year to assess strategic
 options to strengthen Exabyte's business and to seek value for our
 shareholders.  After examining several possibilities with the help of our
 financial advisors, I am very pleased with this outcome.  We are merging
 companies with complementary technologies, products and cultures.  We provide
 each other with opportunities to capture new OEMs and new reseller partners,
 to share suppliers and leverage our purchasing power, and to reduce operating
 and facilities costs."
     Broadview International LLC served as financial advisor to Exabyte and The
 Wallach Company, a Division of McDonald Investments Inc., provided the
 financial advisory services for Ecrix.
     Exabyte has filed an 8-K Report with the Securities and Exchange
 Commission regarding the proposed merger with Ecrix Corporation.  Additional
 information is available in the 8-K Report.
     A conference call has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. MDT (12:30 p.m. EDT)
 on Thursday, August 23rd to discuss the merger.  The conference call will be
 available live via webcast on Exabyte's website at www.exabyte.com/company.
 The call will also be available via telephone at 1-800-540-0559 with the code
 "EXABYTE."  Webcast replays of the conference call will be available for
 90 days after completion of the call.
     Special Note regarding Forward-Looking Statements
     The foregoing includes forward-looking statements related to Exabyte's
 business prospects.  Such statements are made subject to one or more risks.
 Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "plans,"
 "positions" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking
 statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements.
 The actual results that Exabyte achieves may differ materially from such
 forward-looking statements due to risks and uncertainties relating to the
 described transaction, including closing conditions, the need for stockholders
 approval, the ability of the combined company to achieve cost savings and
 operating efficiencies, costs incurred to complete the merger, and potential
 difficulties in integrating the two companies; successful conclusion of any
 anticipated OEM relationships; financing arrangements; product development and
 acceptance; market demand; management of business and product transitions and
 other risks that may be discussed in Exabyte's 2000 Form 10-K and Form 10-Q
 for the quarter ended June 30, 2001.  Please refer to Exabyte's Form 8-K,
 Form 10-K and Forms 10-Q for a description of such risks.
     Additional Information
     This announcement is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an
 offer to sell shares of Exabyte Corporation.  Investors and security holders
 are strongly advised to read the joint proxy and registration statement
 regarding the transactions referred to in this press release when it becomes
 available because it will contain important information.  A free copy of this
 document (when available) and other documents filed by Exabyte will be
 available at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov or at Exabyte's website at
     About Exabyte Corporation
     Exabyte Corporation is a leading supplier of tape storage devices and
 network storage solutions for the data intensive application and database
 server markets.  Exabyte engineers, manufactures and markets MammothTape(TM)
 technology tape drives, premier storage media and libraries for MammothTape,
 DLTtape(TM), LTO(TM) Ultrium(TM) and Advanced Intelligent Tape(TM) (AIT)
 technologies.  Exabyte's products are available exclusively through an
 extensive network of OEM, distributor and reseller business partners
 worldwide, all backed by the company's award-winning service and support.
     For additional information about Exabyte and for sales information, call
 1-800-EXABYTE.  For support and customer service, call 1-800-445-7736.  Please
 call (+65)-271-6331 for Asia/Pacific and (+31)-30-2548800 for European
 inquiries.  To obtain investor information, download information from the
 investor relations room on the company's website.  For investor-related
 questions, please e-mail investor@exabyte.com.  Visit Exabyte on the Web at
     About Ecrix Corporation
     Founded in 1996, privately held Ecrix Corp. (e' kree) is headquartered in
 Boulder, Colorado.  A tape storage innovator, the company's VXA(TM) tape
 products deliver market-leading value and enterprise-quality reliability.
 Ecrix is quality certified according to ISO 9001:2000 and markets its products
 worldwide through OEM, VAR, e-tailer channels and direct over the company's
 website.  Ecrix's VXA products are sold on Compaq commercial desktops and
 workstations, Fujitsu's GP-S Family and PRIMEPOWER servers, over the Apple Web
 store and on the Intel Business Advantage Portal.  For more information about
 the company and its products, visit www.ecrix.com or telephone 1-800-VXA-TAPE
 (1-800-892-8273) or (303) 402-9262.
     EDITOR'S NOTES:  Exabyte is a registered trademark, and M2 and MammothTape
 are trademarks of Exabyte Corp.  LTO and Ultrium are US trademarks of HP,
 IBM and Seagate.  DLTtape is a trademark of Quantum Corp. Advanced Intelligent
 Tape(TM) is a trademark of Sony Corp.  All other trademarks are the property
 of their respective owners.
     VXA and VXAtape are registered trademarks of Ecrix Corp.  All other
 trademarks, trade names, registered trademarks, or registered trade names are
 property of their respective holders.  Compaq is a trademark of Compaq
 Information Technologies Group, L.P.
     For further information, please contact Annette Smith of Exabyte
 Corporation, +1-303-417-7695, annettes@exabyte.com; or Taylor Allis of
 Ecrix Corporation, +1-303-245-9626, tallis@ecrix.com.
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SOURCE Exabyte Corporation