LONDON: Activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason prevailed in their bid to stymie Fujifilm Holdings Corp.’s $6.1 billion takeover of Xerox Corp. and to push out the U.S. office equipment supplier’s chief executive officer.
Jeff Jacobson, the CEO who oversaw the initial deal with Fujifilm, will step down under a settlement backed by the two shareholders, Xerox said in a statement Sunday. Keith Cozza, the CEO of Icahn Enterprises, will become chairman, while John Visentin is expected to take over as CEO, the U.S. copier company said. Icahn and Deason own a combined 13 percent of Xerox.
The agreement leaves the two activist investors with a firmer handle on the company after a tumultuous boardroom battle. Icahn and Deason, who opposed the transaction from the start as undervalued, must now find other bids or compel Fujifilm, which owns 75 percent of an office equipment joint venture with Xerox, to raise its offer substantially.
Deason sued Xerox in February to block the proposal, accusing Jacobson of acting without authorization to strike a deal that preserved his job at shareholders’ expense. The lawsuit also claimed that the company’s board breached its fiduciary duties.