Saturday, 26 May, 2018

Xerox aborts £6.1bn Selling to Japan's Fujifilm

Credit Emily Hunt  for WXXI News Credit Emily Hunt for WXXI News
Russell Knight | 14 May, 2018, 12:42

U.S. photocopier and printer maker Xerox on Sunday announced it was terminating a merger with Fujifilm and appointing a new chief executive after entering into a settlement with activist shareholders who had contested the takeover.

But Icahn and Deason blasted the deal, saying it significantly undervalued the U.S. company and would be its "death knell".

As previously reported, last year Fujifilm discovered accounting irregularities within two subsidiaries of its joint-venture Fuji Xerox Australia New Zealand operations.

Apart from the change in CEO, Xerox also replaced five directors as part of a board reshuffle. Keith Cozza is expected to be named Chairman of the Board.

The previously announced venture was terminated after Fujifilm failed to deliver the audited financials of Fuji Xerox by April 15, 2018.

"Over the past several weeks, the Xerox Board has repeatedly requested that Fujifilm immediately enter into negotiations on improved terms for a proposed transaction", the firm said.

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Xerox said it believes that the transaction can not reasonably be expected to be completed under the circumstances, particularly given the court injunction and that shareholders didn't support it on current terms, as well as unresolved accounting issues at Fuji Xerox.

Fujifilm was quick to take a combative stance, saying it disputes Xerox's right to terminate the deal and would look at all options including legal action seeking damages.

Deason said, "Xerox is now positioned to conduct a true, robust strategic alternatives process".

Fuji Xerox, 75 percent owned by Fujifilm, handles contracts that supply global clients with Xerox services in the United States and Europe, and Fuji Xerox services in Asia.

Mr. Icahn, the billionaire hedge fund manager, and Darwin Deason, who became a major Xerox investor after selling his company to it, had argued that the merger agreement undervalued the company. "Icahn and Deason say there are, because they want a higher price, but you don't really know whether that's for real", said Ichiyoshi Asset Management senior executive officer Mitsushige Akino. He had also been a candidate under consideration by the old board to replace Jacobson as recently as previous year, according to court documents. The pair said they would be willing to consider any offers for the company of $40 a share or more. "With that behind us and new shareholder-focused leadership in place, today marks a new beginning for Xerox".

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