October 6, 2017 // 12:05 p.m.
HP Inc. has received the official go-ahead for its acquisition of Samsung's rival printer business from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, but the deal comes with restrictions including an absolute moratorium on banning the use of third-party consumables.
HP Inc., which operates the consumer-focussed half of post-split Hewlett Packard, announced a $1.05 billion (around £800 million) deal to acquire the printer business of rival Samsung Electronics back in September 2016. Although at the time the company had hoped to close the deal quickly, a year on and it has only now received official approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce - and it comes with a few caveats.
In a statement issued to press late last night the Ministry of Commerce told HP it could go ahead with the purchase so long as the sale of A4-format laser printers in the region are carried out under fair and reasonable terms which do not exploit the company's expensively-acquired market share. The Ministry also requires that HP does not acquire stakes in any other printer company operating in China, even minority stakes.
A bigger limitation levelled against the company, according to a copy of the as-yet unpublished statement acquired by newswire agency Reuters comes in a requirement that HP make no efforts to 'adapt its printers to restrict compatibility with third parties or claim in advertising that its printers are not compatible with other suppliers,' - suggesting the Chinese authorities have been watching the company's actions in locking down its ink-based printers against third-party consumables.
HP has indicated it hopes to finalise the acquisition by the end of the year.