Fujifilm gains control of Xerox to form $18B company

Fujifilm Holdings is gaining control of Xerox in a deal that would create an $18 billion company and see the iconic American corporate giant launching into new lines of business to seek global growth.

The deal would combine Xerox, which has a market value of $8.3 billion, with a joint venture the company operates with Fujifilm. Xerox shareholders will receive a $2.5 billion special cash dividend, or approximately $9.80 per share, funded from the combined company’s balance sheet, and own 49.9 percent of the combined company at closing.

Fujifilm, which generates almost 60 percent of sales from overseas, is pushing to offset waning demand at its printer and copier hardware business by shifting focus to managed-print services and medical imaging. Expansion into the health-care sector with products such as ultrasound and endoscope equipment should boost sales, but that segment’s thinner margins could offset gains in the imaging division, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

The joint venture will also cut 10,000 jobs globally as Fujifilm undertakes a restructuring, the Japanese company announced. The new combined company, Fuji Xerox, will trade on the New York Stock Exchange and have dual headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut and Tokyo.

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The deal marks the end of independence for a U.S. company whose roots trace back to the start of the 20th century. While Xerox became famous for its hardware, it has fallen on hard times as Canon and Asian competitors eroded its dominance while email and other forms of electronic communications took over. The new company will accelerate revenue growth through its global reach and pursue developments in inkjet, imaging and artificial intelligence, it said.

“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 statement. Jacobson will become CEO of the combined company.

Fujifilm Holdings, which lowered its forecast for operating income for the year ending March 31, will cut one-fifth of its global workforce at the joint venture as the Japanese company struggles with an “increasingly severe” market environment. The company said it will incur a one-time expense of 72 billion yen ($662 million) over three years.

Xerox and Fujifilm’s 55-year-old joint venture in Asia is the subject of a recent accounting probe into its practices in New Zealand and Australia, which prompted activist investor Carl Icahn to call for renegotiating or scrapping the agreement.

The deal will make for a more global company, according to Simon Chan, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

“In the past, Fuji Xerox only operated in the Asia Pacific region, and Xerox targets the Americas and Europe,” Chan said. “With the combined company, they can share cost on research, product development and potentially manufacturing capacity as well."