This month Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. decided to sell its legendary Verbatim business unit to CMC Magnetics. Verbatim is primarily known for its recordable optical media, but the company also sells USB flash drives, DAS devices, accessories, and so on.

Under the terms of the agreement, CMC will pay Mitsubishi Chemical $32 million in cash for Verbatim-related assets, including patents, technologies, sales network, and other. Being one of the pioneers of blank floppy disk and optical media, Verbatim owns a large portfolio of IP for discs, including production methods, various coatings, and other technologies. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Chemical has used the brand to market USB flash drives, SSDs, DAS devices, power banks, various accessories, and even 3D printing filaments. It is unclear whether CMC is also set to get these businesses and whether it intends to keep them running.

CMC has manufactured Verbatim-branded optical media for a while now using Verbatim’s technologies, so change of ownership is not expected to result in change of quality. Meanwhile, since the whole Verbatim supply chain will now belong to CMC, it is possible to expect the media to get slightly cheaper. Furthermore, with IP from Verbatim, CMC will be able to improve its own-brand products without paying for a license.

The acquisition of Verbatim’s assets by CMC is a yet another sign of consolidation of the optical media market as sales of both blank media and discs with movies shrink. Mitsubishi Chemical no longer sees new opportunities with CD/DVD/Blu-ray media, which is why it is selling not only the brand, but all of the related assets. Mitsubishi is not the only company to exit optical disc media in the recent years. Such legendary names as Taiyo Yuden, TDK, Maxell, Fujifilm, BASF, and other decided to withdraw from this business in the last ~10 years. While some of the aforementioned brands still exist on the market, they are not produced by the original owners.

CMC is one of the world’s largest producers of optical media with operations in China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the US. The discs the company produces are then sold under other brands (HP, Verbatim, etc.) or are used by high-volume commercial customers like movie studios for replication purposes. Besides, the company offers custom packaging services for optical media, something also used primarily by large studios nowadays.

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Source: Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group

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  • rarson - Monday, July 1, 2019 - link

    Same here. I actually found a disc I burned back in 1996 a few months ago and while it looked rather sketchy it read perfectly fine.
  • Xajel - Sunday, June 30, 2019 - link

    So Blu-Ray is the last optical media standard for consumers, while there might be other technologies for the private sector, there's almost no need to develop another standard, maybe just developing or improving the current BR discs more like the UHD 4K (HDR) (which are just a capacity bump versions with more layers, the software on another hand is different as it goes for higher compression HEVC which supports higher resolution contents as well, making original BR players incompatible with UHD BR discs)
  • deil - Sunday, June 30, 2019 - link

    I might be old fasioned but I keep 2x2TB 3.5 HDD's raided for that purpose, and online google backup. 10 years now I think, those drives never failed me, now I also keep 2x8TB for fresher things. Always raid if you care for data.
  • laternser - Thursday, December 12, 2019 - link

    Sorry to lose Verbatim --- this is a great loss to reliable offsite backup media.

    I have hundreds of Verbatim DVD+R and +RW dating back to the mid/late 1990s. Many CD-R disks of various brands back 28(?) years. Many BluRay BD-RE and BD-R (Panasonic media) for the last decade. Very very few have failed ... (mostly re-writable media that was re-written).

    CMC media was always junk going way back. Some of their cd-rom media survives (I must admit)

    China? No way this will be the same.
    Just purchasing the technology does not mean it gets used.
    Made in Japan media Panasonic and Verbatim media was reliable.

    Very few companies embrace quality after decades of being willing to sell junk.

    My question --- Is there any media still made in Japan?
  • olsenn - Friday, January 21, 2022 - link

    I have around 1600 BDXL discs burned and stored away in 320-disc capacity disc binders, neatly tucked into my bookshelf. More than 160 terabytes!

    Most are standard 100GB Verbatim/Mitshibishi HTL (MABL) discs I got off eBay from Japan. They are the cheapest option I have found that is still suitable for my needs. Some are the more expensive, and supposedly longer lasting, 100GB M-Disc. also by Verbatim. Lastly, I have some 128GB Sony discs which I have taken from some Generation 1 Sony 1.5TB Optical Disc Archive cartridges.

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