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Verbatim Acquires SmartDisk

Tokyo — Verbatim and its parent company, Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), announced the purchase of SmartDisk’s external hard drive and digital imaging business for an undisclosed price.

The acquisition expands Verbatim’s global footprint in the data storage market beyond its current lines of optical disc media, magnetic tape and flash products.

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

In addition to acquiring SmartDisk technology and patents, Verbatim said in a release that it will retain “key U.S. engineering, operations, marketing and sales personnel to smooth the transition and assist with future business growth.” Verbatim did not disclose if any jobs will be eliminated.

The deal mirrors rival Imation’s recent acquisitions of TDK and Memorex, which added another broad-line memory supplier to the global accessories market.

The removable storage category has seen “explosive growth” in recent years, according to IDC. The research firm predicts more than 6 million external hard drives will be shipped in 2008, up 58 percent from the 3.8 million units shipped in 2006.

SmartDisk had a 16 percent market share in the U.S. retail portable drive market in 2006, according to data from the NPD Group.

“Today’s consumers and business professionals need the full range of removable and portable storage options — hard disk, optical and flash,” Otsuka said. “Now, we can meet all of their storage requirements with a complete family of highly reliable, technically advanced solutions that are also cost-effective.”

Verbatim also markets computer and imaging accessories and printing supplies. The brand is distributed in Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America.