Xerox Offered ‘Six Months’ By Fujifilm’s Komori To Decide On Merger

Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori said in an interview that the only way the U.S. office equipment firm Xerox would be bale to survive in the fiercely competitive global market is a takeover by Fujifilm Holdings. However, the Japanese company is also preparing itself for the eventuality of the deal not taking place eventually, the CEO said.

“When I thought of the best way to maximize the corporate value of Xerox, the takeover was the only choice, and I still think this plan is the one and only way,” Komori stressed. “(But) I’m not going to wait forever,” Komori said. He added “I don’t have a specific deadline in mind, but it should normally be around six months.”

A complex deal between Xerox and Fujifilm was forged in January which would result in Xerox being included in its Asian joint venture Fuji Xerox – granting complete control of the company to the Japanese firm. But strong opposition from investor Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason resulted in the plan being scrapped.

But Fujifilm has doubts and Xerox continuing to do business in the market without the advantages that a joint venture with Fujifilm would provide. Fuji Xerox mostly develops products for Xerox. While it is possible that Xerox could land up another partner and sever ties with Fuji, but whether that would be possible at such a short notice and whether a good valuer for money would be available for such a deal is something that Fuji is doubtful about.

The resultant streamlining operations and decision-making through a joint venture of the two could result in cost savings of $1.25 billion, believes the Japanese company.

In the meanwhile, an injunction to the proposed deal has been issued by a U.S. court so that the American company is able to place the proposal formally to its shareholders at Xerox’s general meeting.

An appeal seeking lifting of the injunction has already been filed by Fujifilm, the company said. “We have signed the agreement with Xerox through a proper legal process,” said Komori. “We will keep pushing Xerox to fulfill what’s included in the agreement.”

The primary reason for opposition of the merger by the activist investors of Xerox was that the proposal from Fujifilm devalued Xerox considerably. When Fujifilm made the $8.6 billion offer, the market capitalization of Xerox was $7.9 billion. A total of $2.5 billion will be paid by Fujifilm in special dividends.

“The current shareholders will be able to enjoy a share price reflecting the synergy of the merger,” said Komori, which suggests that there is little interest of Fuji in enhancing the offer. about 15 per cent stake of Xerox is held by the activist investors currently. “It is up to other 85% of shareholders to decide,” said the CEO, hinting he believes they will take the offer.

(Adapted from Asia.Nikkei.com)

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