Xerox drops Fujifilm merger plan, strikes a deal with activists

14 May, 2018, 18:14 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Xerox company is seen on a building in Minsk Belarus

Xerox has called off its sale merger with Fujifilm after Xerox made a last-minute deal with two of its investors, it has emerged. The settlement agreement resolves the pending proxy contest in connection with the company's 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders and Mr. Deason's litigation against Xerox and its directors.

Xerox said it was backing out of the deal because, among other things, Fujifilm did not deliver audited statements by April 15.

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

But analysts believe the two firms are inextricably intertwined and that Fujifilm is not without bargaining power, while also doubting that talk of other buyers is that substantial. "With that behind us and new shareholder-focused leadership in place, today marks a new beginning for Xerox".

Xerox notes that within a few weeks asked Fujifilm the immediate commencement of negotiations on the improvement of the conditions of the transaction.

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"The transaction can not reasonably be expected to be completed under these circumstances, particularly given the court's injunction of the transaction and the lack of shareholder support for the transaction on current terms, as well as the unresolved accounting issues at Fuji Xerox", the company asserts in a statement.

Last week, Icahn and Deason repeated their calls for Xerox to scrap the transaction, fire Jacobson, hire a new CEO, and have the board resign. The pair said they would be willing to consider any offers for the company of $40 a share or more. He was hired back in March by Icahn and Deason as a consultant in their campaign to try and block the Fuji deal. John Visentin is expected to take the helm. John Visentin has spent weeks preparing himself to run the company and speaking to numerous market participants regarding strategic alternatives. "Xerox is fortunate to have someone with his experience and preparation to lead it through this exciting and transformative time".

The settlement marks the end of a tumultuous fight between Xerox and Icahn over a transaction that would cede control of the once-iconic American innovator synonymous with office copy machines to a Japanese company.

Icahn and Deason opposed the Fujifilm transaction from the start.

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.

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