Xerox Investor Deason Seeks Xerox Auction ASAP

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Darwin Deason

In the wake of the Xerox Board of Directors’ announcement on May 13th that it’s called off a proposed deal with Fujifilm, the resignation of several board members and CEO, and the installment of Icahn consultant John Visentin and new board members, investor Darwin Deason, revealed his and investor Carl Icahn’s plans for Xerox In an interview with Bloomberg.

Deason told Bloomberg that he and Icahn want to start an auction for Xerox “as soon as possible, and have already had talks with several private equity firms about a potential deal.”

Deason has not ruled out an offer from Fujiflm, which under the now-scuttled deal, would have paid $6.1 billion for Xerox, with shareholders receiving $28 per share. Deason and Icahn have stated that they would be open to an all-cash offer of $40 or more per share. After Xerox’s termination of the proposed Fujifilm deal, Xerox’s share price fell from about $30 to $28.87 per share.

Deason, however, didn’t rule out an offer from Fujifilm. He said Xerox’s new CEO, John Visentin, is going to immediately start the auction for Xerox “to make sure anyone who has any interest in buying this company has the opportunity to look at it and has a fair opportunity to look at it — including Fuji. We’re gonna market this company as best we can.”

Deason is said to being having discussions with several private-equity firms about a deal, and  said that a new deal with Fujfilim could be “the very best thing to do.” Fujifilm is Xerox’s joint partner in Fuji Xerox.

Deason had sued the Xerox Board of Directors, alleging that CEO Jeff Jacobson hadn’t been authorized to negotiate the deal with Fujfilm. His lawsuit also named Fujiflm, alleging that Fujifilm “aided and abetted” the allegedly improper conduct. It also sought to enable Deason to nominate members to the Xerox Board of Directors, even though he had missed the deadline for doing so.  The settlement announced on May 13th ends the litigation against Xerox, but not against Fujifilm.

According to Bloomberg, Deason, who said he’d worked on about 300 deals over his career, said that the saga over the Xerox-Fujifilm transaction has “virtually everything.”

“Crown jewel lockups, conflict, international intrigue,” Deason said. “It’s like a big mystery novel.”

Meanwhile, Fujfilm is said to be disputing the new settlement, arguing that Xerox did not have the legal right to end the proposed deal, which Xerox shareholders would have voted on this month.

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