Hitachi Considering 'All Options' for Hard-Disk Unit

Hitachi is considering a shake-up of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), the hard-disk drive maker that it acquired from IBM in 2003.

The Tokyo company said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange that it is considering "all options" regarding the subsidiary.

The statement was issued in response to a report in the Friday morning edition of The Nikkei newspaper that said Hitachi is in talks with U.S. investment fund Silver Lake over the sale of just under half the company. The Nikkei said that the two parties are trying to come up with a deal by January however agreement remains some way off because there are disagreements on price.

Hitachi declined to comment beyond its statement.

Despite coming up with several market-leading drives, such as the first terabyte hard-disk drive at the beginning of this year, the company hasn't yet been able to make a profit under Hitachi's ownership. It is the third-largest manufacturer of hard-disk drives behind Seagate and Western Digital.

Hard-disk drive makers have been enjoying better business conditions in the market in the second half of 2007. Early in the year prices fell about 20 percent per quarter but those sharp price declines have now steadied and prices dropped just 5 percent in the fourth quarter, according to a recent report from iSuppli.

The research agency said worldwide shipments of drives hit 132 million units in the third quarter, a 15 percent jump from the 115 million [m] shipped in the second quarter. It predicted the seasonably strong fourth quarter will see a further 11 percent jump in shipments from the previous quarter.

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