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HP gets China's OK to buy Samsung's printer unit for $1.1 billion

The decision comes with limitations to protect against the company engaging in anticompetitive behavior, says the Commerce Ministry.

HP is buying up Samsung's printer unit for $1.1 billion in China.
Aloysius Low/CNET

China has given HP the green light to buy Samsung Electronics' printer business, but the deal comes with conditions.

HP has received approval to buy Samsung's printer business for $1.1 billion -- along with restrictions meant to keep the company from monopolizing the market and engaging in unfair practices, China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

The Chinese government's approach to business deals of this nature can be controversial. Critics have dinged Beijing for being protectionist because, they say, it seems more lax when dealing with local companies. Last year, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing made waves when it bought Uber's business in the country, although the ministry did say it was investigating whether the merger might create a monopoly. But the country has also lashed out at the US for being protectionist, as last month when US president Donald Trump did not allow a Chinese-backed company to buy an American chipmaker, Reuters reported.

In its statement, the Commerce Ministry said HP should sell its A4 format laser printers under "fair and reasonable terms" in China, and that it has to report pricing information and other relevant data to the ministry every six months.

The company is also forbidden from buying stakes in other A4 printer manufacturers in the country, even if it's a minority equity investment; from adapting its printers to restrict compatibility with third parties; and from making bogus or misleading claims that its printers are incompatible with third-party products.

HP and Samsung did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

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