Hitachi denies that sale of hard-drive business is near

Reports say Japanese manufacturer plans to sell less than half of business to US equity firm

Hitachi Friday denied reports that it plans to sell its hard disk drive business. The statement came in response to news reports earlier Friday that the manufacturer was actively engaged in talks with a US investment firm about selling off a significant chunk of its hard-drive unit.

In a statement released at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Friday, Hitachi said the company is "exploring every possibility" to improve the fortunes of its sagging hard-disk business. The statement also said "that Hitachi has not decided to sell the hard disk drive business."

Hitachi officials could not be reached for further comment.

According to multiple reports, Hitachi has been discussing the sale of the hard-drive unit with officials of Silver Lake Partners, a Silicon Valley private equity firm. Hitachi had purchased its disk-drive business from IBM in 2002 for US$2.05 billion.

The reports said that the talks are still in the early stages but that Hitachi has allowed Silver Lake officials to closely examine information about the hard-drive business.