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WD: Thai flooding should speed EU decision on Hitachi

Deal good for everyone, says disk drive giant

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WD believes the flooding in Thailand puts greater impetus on the European Competition Commission to green-light its proposed acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies.

The acquisition of Samsung's HDD biz by Seagate was cleared by competition regulators this week as they were notified of the deal by the vendor a day earlier, despite WD tabling its bid a month earlier.

The EC is concerned that the disk drive, which has already experienced "significant consolidation" will be left with just two behemoths and competition may be reduced.

John Coyne, CEO at WD, said the deal should be "cleared unconditionally" but had submitted a "proposed confidentiality remedy" to the EC to address issues raised following a review and expected a decision to be issued by the 30 November.

"We anticipate the other agencies reviewing our transaction will make their final determination within a similar timeframe. Therefore, we are maintaining our target for closing the HGST acquisition by the end of the calendar year," he said.

But Coyne has put a novel spin on the recent flooding in Thailand that is set to impact pricing and product availability, as revealed earlier today, claiming it could help push the deal through – as it would allow to mix and match components and production tooling.

"Getting this deal done quickly is very beneficial to the overall return of the industry supply and, therefore, very beneficial to customers," he said.

The competition regulator views its role "as being to protect the consumer", he added, "I see no better way to protect the consumer than making high-quality product highly available. And so I would hope they would adopt that view.

"We will certainly be pushing in that direction if we continue to work with them to propose what we believe are clear benefits of the deal," he said. ®

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