The board of US storage vendor Iomega has rejected EMC's bid to acquire the company, preferring instead to go ahead with its own deal to buy Excelstor Great Wall Technology, a Cayman Islands company, and Shenzhen Excelstor Technology, a Chinese company, in a stock deal.

The directors voted unanimously to reject EMC's unsolicited proposal to buy the firm, reportedly for US$3.25 per share, or about $178 million (£88 million).

In December, Thomas Kamper Iomega's president and COO, said its own pending deal to buy the two firms will quadruple the company's annual sales from about $300 million (£150) a year to $1.1 billion (£540 million).

Iomega currently embeds EMC's Retrospect back-up and recovery software into its storage products. In January, Iomega said it will use EMC's LifeLine OEM Software for small office and home users to centralise and protect digital files across network devices.

Iomega produces an assortment of removable data storage devices, network attached storage and data recovery products, and managed security services for SMEs.

EMC chairman and CEO Joseph Tucci has long made clear his interest in adding consumer-based technologies to EMC's expanding stable of storage and services offerings. In recent months, EMC has acquired Berkeley Data Systems and its hosted Mozy back-up service, as well cloud-computing start-up Pi.

Dave Farmer, an EMC spokesman, said the bid for Iomega was consistent with this move into the consumer and small business markets. "We believe we extended a compelling offer and are disappointed with their decision," he said.