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Florida Sues HLDS for Optical Disc Drive Price Fixing

The Office of the Florida Attorney General announced that it is suing Hitachi-LG Data Storage (HLDS) for allegedly conspiring to rig bids for the sale of CD and DVD optical disc drives.

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Unedited press release follows:

Attorney General Bondi’s Office Sues Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. and Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea, Inc. Over Price-Fixing Allegations

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office has sued an optical disc drive (ODD) maker over price-fixing allegations. The complaint alleges that Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. and its subsidiary, Hitachi-LG Data Storage Korea, Inc., participated in meetings, discussions, and communications to share competitively sensitive information, such as prices, sales, production, and bidding information in order to rig bids for ODDs sold to Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, and Microsoft Corporation. ODDs are used to read and record data on optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs. ODDs are commonly found in computers and video game consoles. Additionally, some ODDs are designed to be attached externally to devices, such as computers.

“Price-fixing hurts healthy business competition and costs Florida’s businesses, consumers, and governmental agencies by requiring them to pay higher prices for products,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi. “My office is committed to protecting Floridians, and we will work to obtain relief for those affected by this alleged price-fixing scheme.”

Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. was charged with a 15-count felony charge by the United States Department of Justice in the United States District Court in San Francisco in September 2011. Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc. subsequently paid a $21.1 million criminal fine and pleaded guilty to bid-rigging and price-fixing of ODDs.

In its complaint, the Attorney General’s Office is seeking equitable relief, damages, and civil penalties for Florida consumers, businesses, and governmental entities.

The complaint alleges that other companies participated as co-conspirators in the price-fixing conspiracy, including Hitachi, Ltd., LG Electronics, Inc., BenQ Corporation, BenQ America Corporation, Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., Lite-On IT Corporation, Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions Corporation, Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions USA, Inc., Sony Corporation, NEC Corporation, Sony NEC Optiarc, Inc., Sony Optiarc, Inc., Sony Optiarc America, Inc., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Toshiba Corporation, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology Corporation Korea, Panasonic Corporation, Panasonic Corporation of North America, TEAC Corporation, TEAC America Inc., Quanta Storage Inc., and Quanta Storage America, Inc.