Xerox has hit back at activist shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason after their open letter slammed the vendor's board of directors.
Icahn and Deason, who own a combined 15 per cent of the vendor, are campaigning against Xerox combining with Fuji Xerox.
"For 17 years, Xerox withheld (we believe illegally) the agreements governing the Fuji Xerox joint venture - agreements the company now claims permanently prevent (for all intents and purposes) anyone other than Fuji from buying Xerox," stated the open letter.
"But the truth is that if this ostrich board of directors would simply take their heads out of the sand and do a deeper dive into the advice being given to them by Jeff Jacobson (who just wants a bigger job) and its financial advisors (who just want a huge fee), they would see that THERE ARE VIABLE ALTERNATIVES TO THE PROPOSED FUJI SCHEME."
Icahn and Deason claim the best alternative could be to consolidate with or sell to one of its competitors or to a private equity firm.
"The board's most recent letter to shareholders was rife with misleading obfuscations, basic mathematical errors and convenient omissions. Let's review some facts that demonstrate unequivocally how poorly the board has handled the current situation and how terrible this latest Fuji scheme is for shareholders," the letter concluded.
Xerox has since issued a statement in reply and claimed: "Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason's letter is consistent with their misguided campaign to undermine Xerox's combination with Fuji Xerox.
"The Xerox board and management team evaluated a range of strategic options for the company and determined that the combination with Fuji Xerox is clearly the superior path forward for Xerox."
The statement claimed that combining with Fuji Xerox leverages the respective strengths of Xerox and Fuji Xerox and eliminates duplicative efforts between the existing joint-venture partners.
"The result is a significant opportunity for shareholders to realise long-term, sustainable value as holders of a stronger company, in addition to receiving the near-term substantial dividend payment at closing.
"The Xerox board and management team remain focused on delivering value for shareholders through this transaction and the ongoing improvement of our business," the statement said.
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