FTC: Western Digital and Hitachi must give assets and IP rights to Toshiba (update: sale approved)

Thought everything was looking rosy for the hard drive hitch of the year? Well, it looks like Federal Trade Commission reckons the union of Hitachi and Western Digital isn't quite there just yet, ordering that the new company would have to shed some of its assets to Toshiba. The FTC wants to ensure a competitive climate in the 3.5-inch hard drive market and avoid Western Digital and Seagate -- the two largest HDD manufacturers -- carving up the whole sector between them. According to the FTC's proposals, Toshiba has to receive the production assets needed to equal Hitachi's current HDD market share, alongside access to Western Digital's research and development resources and licenses to its intellectual property. Regulators had previously stated that WD could expect to sell on some of its production assets in order to get the tie-up okayed. Western Digital now has 15 days to hand over these assets to Toshiba -- who, presumably, aren't complaining -- once the deal with Hitachi is finally inked.

Update: Looks like all the FTC wrangling was worth it, because WD and Hitachi have announced that all the necessary approvals have been obtained and the deal is due to close on March 8th. PR's after the break.

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WD® and Hitachi Expect to Close Agreement for the Sale of Hitachi's HDD Business to WD on March 8th

IRVINE, Calif. and TOKYO, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) and Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT / TSE:6501) today announced that having obtained all required regulatory approvals for WD's acquisition of Viviti Technologies Ltd. (holding company of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies), they expect the acquisition to close on March 8, 2012. WD and Hitachi will provide more information upon closing of the transaction.