THIS DEAL COULD PORTEND A new round of consolidation in the bitterly competitive disk-drive business. On Sept. 20, Seagate Technology, the market's sales leader, announced plans to purchase No.3 Conner Peripherals for $1.1 billion in stock. The acquisition would create a $7.6 billion company, more than double the size of No.2 Quantum. And by buying Conner, which has struggled with manufacturing problems, Seagate would gain strength in the smaller drives used for personal computers.

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