Xerox shareholder bids to stop merger with Fujifilm ‘in its tracks’

It may be a day of love and unity but Xerox shareholder Darwin Deason is attempting to put a spanner in the works of the vendor’s merger with Fujifilm. 

Following the announcement that Fujifilm would be taking over Xerox in a deal worth $6.1 billion, Deason and fellow shareholder Carl Icahn are fighting to scupper the deal. The investors – who owned a combined 15 per cent stake of Xerox – have submitted a lawsuit as they argue that the deal ‘dramatically undervalues Xerox and ‘disproportionately’ favours Fuji and must be ‘stopped in its tracks’.

Xerox has countered the claims saying that the merger seemed to be the best path for the company after a year of exhaustive examination of a number of alternatives. “Mr. Deason’s allegations are without merit and the company will vigorously defend itself,” Xerox said in a statement.

The proposed deal will combine Xerox with a joint venture the company operates with Fujifilm. Xerox will see its shareholders receive a $2.5 billion special cash dividend, or approximately $9.80 per share, funded from the combined company’s balance sheet. Perhaps most importantly for the company’s operations, shareholders will own 49.9 per cent of the combined company at closing.

The companies said that the deal will see the ‘iconic’ American giant launch into new lines of business to seek global growth and cut costs.

“The proposed combination has compelling industrial logic and will unlock significant growth and productivity opportunities for the combined company, while delivering substantial value to Xerox shareholders,” Jeff Jacobson, chief executive officer of Xerox, said in the company’s joint statement. Jacobson will become CEO of the combined company.

It was also announced Fujifilm will undertake a restructuring that will cut 10,000 jobs globally.

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