Xerox CEO Visentin Joins Fuji Xerox Board of Directors

Xerox CEO John Visentin

In an interesting development in the ongoing Xerox-Fujifilm saga, on June 14th, Fuji Xerox – the decades-old joint venture between Xerox and Fujifilm – announced the appointment of Icahn-backed John Visentin to its board of directors.

The appointment is said to be customary, since Fuji Xerox is a joint venture between Xerox and Fujiflm, but the appointment of Icahn-backed Visentin to the board can’t be welcomed by Fujifilm, which saw it’s hopes of obtaining Xerox and merging it with Fuji Xerox dashed  by Icahn and fellow investor Darwin Deason.

Last month, following a months-long battle between Xerox and activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who together are the majority investors in Xerox, holding about 15 percent of Xerox shares, Xerox reaching an agreement with the two investors, scrapping a proposed non-cash purchase of Xerox by Fujifilm for $6.1 billion, and appointing Visentin, a former IBM and Hewlett-Packard executive, and Icahn consultant, to the position of Xerox CEO, along with six new Icahn-backed persons to the Xerox board of directors.

Fuji Xerox also promoted Deputy President Kouichi Tamai to president, replacing Hiroshi Kurihara, who will stay on in a special advisory role.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review, Tamai was responsible for salvaging Fujifilm’s “failing operations.” He is now charged with resolving the conflict with Xerox over the scrapped deal and to “put the venture back on the path to growth.”

Both Visentin and Tamai will take on their new roles following Fuji Xerox’s meetings of shareholders, which will take place on June 20th.

Earlier this month, Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori stated that Fujiflm will give Xerox about six months to come up with a new proposal for Fujifilm to buy Xerox. Icahn has said that the and Deason are open to cash offers of $40 or per share for Xerox; Xerox is currently trading at about $27 per share. “That price is too high,” said Komori. “We won’t do it. We have our own shareholders that we have to think about.”

Fujiflm has also filed a lawsuit over the scrapped deal, and may be seeking a termination fee of some $183 million.

Icahn and Deason have suggested several alternatives for Xerox, including a public auction, with Deason reportedly involved in preparing a prospectus for an auction. In an interview with Bloomberg TV last month, Deason said Xerox CEO Visentin, is going to immediately start an 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.”

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