Asustek Reportedly Mulling Acquisition of Toshiba's Mobile PC Business

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Taiwan-based mobile PC maker Asustek Computer is reportedly in talks with Toshiba about acquiring that company's mobile PC business.

The Taiwan-based technology news site Digitimes on Monday reported that Asustek is considering acquisitions as part of a plan to become one of the world's top-three notebook PC vendors by 2011, and that Toshiba's notebook PC business is one of the potential acquisitions.

Digitimes further reported that the Chinese-language Commercial Times wrote that Jonney Shih, Asustek chairman, confirmed that his company has contacted Toshiba about such an acquisition, but that nothing has been finalized.

Meanwhile, the Bloomberg news service on Monday reported that an Asustek spokesman confirmed that Asustek and Toshiba have discussed cooperation opportunities in the notebook PC business while declining to comment further on the Commercial Times report.

Should such an acquisition happen, it would have a major impact on the mobile PC market. Asustek is the developer of the Eee, the device that kicked off the current rush to market of netbook PCs, and is also a major builder of a full range of mobile PCs.

Toshiba is currently the world's fourth-largest maker of mobile PCs, behind Hewlett-Packard, Acer, and Dell, and ahead of Lenovo, according to analyst firm DisplaySearch.

The Wall Street Journal last month reported that Asustek expects to ship 16 million notebook and netbook PCs in 2010, up about 30 percent over 2009.

The acquisition of Toshiba's notebook PC business by Asustek, should it occur, is not without precedent.

Acer in 1997 purchased the mobile PC business of Texas Instruments, and has since built that organization into the world's second-largest largest notebook PC maker.

Meanwhile, the fifth-largest mobile PC maker, Lenovo, got its position with the acquisition of IBM's PC business in 2004.

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