China approves HP's $1.1bn buyout of Samsung's printer business

Although a number of caveats have been placed on the final deal

The Chinese government has approved the sale of Samsung's printer business to HP Inc for $1.1 billion, although fears over a market monopoly meant a number of restrictions were placed on the final deal.

HP Inc first announced its takeover bid last September as it pushed into the $55 billion copier industry, placing greater focus on multi-function printers and IoT-enabled products. At the time it said it had hoped to close a deal within the following year.

Although the deal was approved late Thursday night, the Ministry of Commerce said that the sale of HP laser printers in China should be "fair" and based on "reasonable terms", according to Reuters. A clause in the agreement forces HP to report their prices and sales data to the Ministry every six months.

Further restrictions in the deal are clearly an effort by the Chinese government to prevent the US company from encroaching any further on the printer market. One of the clauses bars the company from acquiring any further stakes in printing companies in China, even as minority partners.

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Another says that products should not be altered to restrict their use with third-parties, and any existing products that do should explicitly state this in their adverts.

HP's acquisition will see over 6,500 printing patents added to its intellectual property, as well as over 1,300 research scientists. The company expects to close the deal inside the fourth quarter, so sometime before 31 December, according to a spokesperson speaking to Reuters.

IT Pro has contacted Samsung for comment. 

Speaking at the time of the announcement last year, HP CEO Dion Weisler said: "The acquisition of Samsung's printer business allows us to deliver print innovation and create entirely new business opportunities with far better efficiency, security, and economics for customers."

Samsung branded printers will still be available in some regions, but these will be supplied by HP instead. Once the deal closes, it will represent HP's largest ever print acquisition.

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