This Week in Imaging: Xerox Must Wish it Never Heard of Affiliated Computer Services

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

It probably goes without saying that, at this point, Xerox probably wishes it had never heard of Darwin Deason or “business-processing company” Affiliated Computer Services (ACS). Deason, founder of ACS, made a fortune when Xerox purchased ACS for $6.4 billion in 2010. But after the purchase, the business-processing services unit’s revenues were later largely flat, and below what had been expected. Xerox later essentially split off Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) into Conduent, but the lawsuit-happy Deason continues to dog Xerox. Deason first sued Xerox in 2016 over its plan to split into two separate companies, Conduent and Xerox, with Deason unhappy that he wouldn’t be receiving a “preferred position” in Conduent. Xerox settled that suit with Deason, granting him 120,000 preferred shares in Conduent, along with shares in Xerox, the latter of which are said to be about 6 percent.

Now Deason is back, alleging a conspiracy at Xerox. Along with fellow activist investor Carl Icahn (together the two hold about a combined 15 percent of Xerox shares), Deason appears on the path of again badgering Xerox until he gets exactly what he wants, which it appears, is more money. Xerox shareholders will vote on the proposed merger of Xerox with Fuji Xerox sometime next month, but even if shareholders approve the merger, the Deason lawsuits will remain, unless he decides to drop them. This in our opinion, is unlikely – Deason will probably not give up quickly or without much legal wrangling: consider that after U.S. presidential candidate Rick Perry dropped out of the 2016 race, barred from participating in a critical debate because of poor polling numbers, billionaire Deason demanded Perry return the $5 million donation he had given to a super PAC backing Perry. It’s not clear if Deason ever got his money back, but one thing’s clear – Deason doesn’t seem to forgive or forget easily.

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