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Sony to make optical drive jv a wholly owned unit

TOKYO, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Sony Corp 6758.T said on Thursday it would buy the 45 percent stake it does not already own in its optical disc drive joint venture with NEC Corp 6701.T, aiming to benefit from growing demand for Blu-ray disc products.

The sale price was unclear.

The venture, Sony NEC Optiarc Inc, posted about 140 billion yen ($1.30 billion) in sales in the year ended March.

The Blu-ray disc format backed by Sony won a prolonged battle over next-generation optical disc technology earlier this year, when Toshiba Corp 6502.T gave up on its HD-DVD format. Sony NEC Optiarc competes with Hitachi-LG Data Storage, a joint venture between Hitachi Ltd 6501.T and LG Electronics Inc 066570.KS, and Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, a venture between Toshiba and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd 005930.KS. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)

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