Dutch storage company Freecom has been acquired by Japanese industrial group Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (MKM), which counts consumable giant Verbatim Corporation among its stable of companies.

The size of the all-stock deal for privately-held Freecom has not been revealed, nor the future of a brand name that has grown into one of Europe's best known despite taking on much larger primary hard disk vendors in a painfully competitive market oriented around price per megabyte.

The buy is MKM/Verbatim's second in two years, having bought the small US external drive vendor, SmartDisk, in 2007. Freecom's product range is more extensive and more innovative than that of SmartDisk, which could signal that the latter's products have not gained the traction hoped for.

"As part of the MKM/Verbatim group, Freecom will benefit from the economies of scale that can be achieved as well as the geographic and channel synergies of the Verbatim and Freecom brands," said Freecom CEO and founder, Dick C. Hoogerdijk, who will stay on to manage the new division.

MKM president Shigenori Otsuka offered few clues as to the way that SmartDisk and Freecom product lines will be integrated.

"The acquisition of Freecom brings together two of the industry's strongest removable storage brands. We're especially pleased in the complementary positioning of the Verbatim and Freecom brands and the collaborative spirit that we see having brought this new company into the MKM/Verbatim group," he said.

The deal ends the independence for one of Europe's most interesting and long-independent storage companies, having been founded as long ago as 1989. Verbatim, by contrast, is a well-known global brand but most consumers still associate it will low-value items such as DVD and CD consumables.