FTC Issues Modified Final Order Settling Charges that Western Digitals Acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Was Anticompetitive in Market for Desktop Hard Disk Drives

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Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved and issued a modified final Decision and Order settling charges that Western Digital Corporation’s proposed acquisition of rival Hitachi Global Technologies Ltd. would have been anticompetitive in the market for hard disk drives used in desktop personal computers.  The proposed order settling the FTC’s charges, first announced on March 5, 2012, required Western Digital to sell assets used to manufacture and sell desktop computer hard disk drives to Toshiba Corporation to resolve the agency’s competition concerns.

In finalizing the consent Decision and Order, the FTC has approved several modifications to the proposed order to incorporate adjustments that Western Digital and Toshiba Corporation, the buyer of the divested assets, made in the transaction documents. The final order provides for the additional time Western Digital required to complete the divestiture in order to obtain the necessary approvals from other relevant competition authorities. The Decision and Order also includes revised production and asset transfer schedules, and extended time in which Western Digital will have access to certain employees. The FTC has also approved changes to the Divestiture Agreement and Contract Manufacturing Agreement incorporated in the Decision and Order to reflect the changes to the remedial agreements made by Western Digital and Toshiba Corporation.

In addition, the FTC has approved modifications to the Interim Monitor Agreement to reflect modifications made by Western Digital and ING Financial Markets (ING America), the U.S. corporate entity for ING, to allow ING America to share information with its European colleagues who are monitoring the divestiture for the EC.  

The Commission vote approving the modified Decision and Order, and a response to the member of the public who commented on it was 2-0, with Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen not participating and Commissioner Joshua D. Wright recused.  (FTC File No. 111-0122, Docket No. C-4350; the staff contact is Roberta S. Baruch, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2861.)

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition works with the Bureau of Economics to investigate alleged anticompetitive business practices and, when appropriate, recommends that the Commission take law enforcement action.  To inform the Bureau about particular business practices, call 202-326-3300, send an e-mail to antitrust{at}ftc{dot}gov, or write to the Office of Policy and Coordination, Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission, 601 New Jersey Ave., Room 7117, Washington, DC 20001.  To learn more about the Bureau of Competition, read Competition Counts.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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