NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO – Xerox Corp. CEO John Visentin blasted his Fujifilm Holdings Corp. counterpart's efforts to revive merger talks and warned that he doesn't plan to renew the companies' Asia joint venture Fuji Xerox in 2021. Visentin, elevated to CEO after shareholders Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason won a court order blocking the companies' $6.1 billion merger deal, said in a letter to Fujifilm Chairman Shigetaka Komori on Monday that a lawsuit by Tokyo-based Fujifilm was "nothing more than a desperate, misguided negotiating ploy to save a takeover" that has already been blocked by a judge because of the "surreptitious actions of your team." Visentin said Fujifilm's own accounting problems had made its deal with Xerox impossible to complete. "You know it, and I know it," Visentin said. "Your expectation -- as expressed to the Japanese media -- that Xerox will come to Fujifilm with a new proposal for a combination transaction is simply delusional.
After the Xerox board's settlement with Messrs. Icahn and Deason, market players were watching to see whether Fujifilm would be willing to raise its offer. Fujifilm spokeswoman Mizuki Ito said the Japanese company isn't considering that. "We are not in a hurry, nor do we want a deal on any terms," Ms. Ito said. "Fujifilm has its shareholders, and we will not accept a deal that is not rational or acceptable." She said Fujifilm hoped to explain to Xerox's new executives why it believes its offer is fair.
Messrs. Icahn and Deason have been seeking to kill that deal, saying it undervalues Xerox and had alleged Mr. Jacobson quickly negotiated the transaction in an attempt to save his own job after his board had instructed him to stop the talks. Xerox has acknowledged it launched a CEO search last year. Xerox chose to settle with the activists after a judge last week temporarily blocked the Fujifilm transaction, siding with Mr. Deason in a lawsuit and saying the talks were conflicted by Mr. Jacobson's tenuous position. Seeking a settlement would avoid a distracting fight over its board and uncertainty about the future of the deal, Xerox's existing board said Tuesday. The settlement effectively ends a legal fight with Xerox and its investors as well as a potential proxy fight that would have sought to remove the entire board, by giving Messrs. Icahn and Deason six of what will now be nine seats.