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Hutchinson Technology being acquired by competitor TDK

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Hutchinson Technology announced Monday it's being purchased by Tokyo-based TDK.

Hutchinson Tech started making electronic components in a south central Minnesota chicken coop 50 years ago, then hit its stride supplying suspension assemblies for disk drives in the late 20th Century.

The company's president and CEO, Rick Penn, said in a statement that combining resources with TDK "...represents a compelling opportunity for Hutchinson Technology shareholders, employees, customers and suppliers."

Hutchinson Tech's stock price more than doubled in Monday's trading after the morning announcement.

Sales of disk drive components have sagged as flash drives and other data storage alternatives have become more popular, MPR News notes.

The Star Tribune says Hutchinson Tech's current level of 2.500 employees is down from 3,900 in 2004 and 7,700 in 1999.

According to the Hutchinson Leader, the facilities in Hutchinson and Eau Claire together have about 100 more employees than the company's largest plant in Thailand.

A Hutchinson Tech spokeswoman tells the Leader it's too soon to know how the acquisition by TDK will affect employment levels, but says overall the company views the deal as a positive for employees.

Hutchinson Tech and TDK say their boards have approved the acquisition and they expect it to be finalized by regulators by March.

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