Episode 5- Fujifilm to sue Xerox to enforce acquisition agreement

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Kenji Sukeno, chief operating officer of Fujifilm Holdings Corp

In January 2018, Xerox and Fujifilm had agreed to merge Xerox and Fujifilm in a joint venture Fuji-Xerox and give Fujifilm control. However, activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason challenged the agreement in court as Fujifilm failed to enter into negotiations on improved terms. The US courts have supported Icahn and Deason’s charges. Jeff Jacobson has resigned and new board members suggested by the two investors, who together represent about 13% of the company’s shareholding, have been appointed.

The complex deal has been scrapped and the latest information is that Fujifilm has decided to sue Xerox for scrapping the US$ 6.1 billion takeover deal. “We plan to file a damages lawsuit as soon as possible,” Kenji Sukeno, chief operating officer, said at an earnings briefing in Tokyo.

Sukeno plans to state through litigation that Xerox has no legal right to unilaterally terminate the deal and that the deal is in the best interests of Xerox shareholders. He also mentioned that he wants to explain to Xerox shareholders that the merger with Fujifilm is the only option for the American company to grow and have a future. A combined entity would be more efficient.

He also stated that Fujifilm will only consider the new proposals by the new Xerox board if they benefit Fujifilm shareholders. At the briefing, Sukeno said, “The contract that ties the two companies together is still valid.” He further added, “We will push for the legality of it. There was a legal contract that everyone agreed on, and after that a few shareholders wanted to put a stop to it.” Sukeno believes that there is no rush to close the deal as they are not bound by time.

However, in opposition to Sukeno’s ideas, Deason and Icahn said that the company is having conversations with several private equity firms about a potential deal. The two investors have indicated publicly that they would like to realize US$ 40 a share while the current price of Xerox shares has been hovering around US$ 30 per share and at close of trading on 18 May 2018 on the NYSE was US$ 28.19. Deason and Icahn have nevertheless admitted that cutting a new deal with Fujifilm Holdings Corp. could be “the very best thing to do.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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