The European Commission has approved Western Digital to acquire Hitachi's hard drive business in a cash and stock transaction valued at $4.3 billion. Once the deal is finalized, Western Digital should cover roughly 50-percent of the market, but not until some requirements are met.
Requirements? Well, Western Digital will have to sell off some of its hard-disk drive production assets to a smaller competitor. The idea behind these requirements [in the eyes of the European Commission] is to ensure that competition in the industry is "fully restored before the merger is implemented."
Right now, there are four active hard-disk drive suppliers worldwide, Western Digital, Hitachi, the merged Seagate-Samsung and finally, Toshiba. The proposed acquisition of Hitachi GST, recently renamed Viviti Technologies, would have taken four down to three, leaving Toshiba, which holds 10-percent of the market, in a very uneasy position.
WD are unable to complete the acquisition until it finds a suitable buyer, which then has to be approved by the Commission.