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Verbatim buys into portable HDs

Media maker finally notices nobody uses floppies anymore

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Media manufacturer Verbatim has bought SmartDisk, a US-based vendor of portable and external disk drives and flash readers. The deal was agreed last month and finalised yesterday.

The acquisition includes physical assets, patents, trademarks and technology. Verbatim said it would also hire some SmartDisk engineering, operations and marketing staff "to smooth the transition and help with business growth".

It's clear that Verbatim - or rather, its Japanese parent Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM) - now sees portable hard disks as part of the same fast-growing 'removable storage ecosystem' as flash memory cards and USB sticks.

"The acquisition of SmartDisk's external and portable hard drive assets is complementary to Verbatim's existing business," said MKM boss Shigenori Otsuka. "Plans are already underway to leverage these assets and Verbatim's heritage to extend quickly our global leadership in the removable storage and related accessories markets."

He added, "Today's consumers and business professionals need the full range of portable storage options - hard disk, optical and flash. Now, we can meet all of their storage requirements."

Verbatim quoted an IDC prediction that more than six million external hard drives will be shipped in 2008, up 58 percent from the 3.8 million units shipped in 2006.

Headquartered in Florida, SmartDisk also had a European sales office in the Irish Republic and an Asian operations office in Taiwan. The cost of the purchase was not disclosed, but SmartDisk had 2006 revenues of $44m.®

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