EU gives Western Digital go-ahead to buy Hitachi for US$4.3bn

23 Nov 2011

The European Commission has approved Western Digital’s acquisition of Hitachi’s hard drive unit for US$4.3bn. The CEO of Western Digital is Irishman John Coyne.

The antitrust approval was secured with a caveat – Western Digital agreed to sell off some of its production assets, as well as patents relating to the production of 3.5-inch hard drives.

The deal will not go ahead, however, until Western Digital finds a buyer for the assets.

The European Commission believes that without these concessions, the 3.5-inch hard-drive market would be dominated by Western Digital and Seagate, which recently acquired Samsung’s hard-drive unit.

It emerged in March that Western Digital intended to acquire Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for US$4.3bn.

Western Digital plans to fund the transaction with a combination of existing cash and total debt of about US$2.5bn.

The resulting company will retain the Western Digital name and remain headquartered in Irvine, California.

John Coyne will remain chief executive officer of WD, Tim Leyden chief operating officer and Wolfgang Nickl chief financial officer. Steve Milligan, president and chief executive officer of Hitachi GST, will join WD at closing as president, reporting to Coyne.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years