Xerox splits into two; Carl Icahn to get 3 berths on board

By Staff Writer

Feb 03, 2016 02:46 AM EST

Xerox Corporation is heading for a split into two entities. After the division, there will be two separate firms engaged in hardware and services businesses. Activist investor Carl Icahn will get multiple positions on the boards of the two companies. 

Xerox will be split into two publicly-traded companies. One company will be in copiers and printers segment, while the second one into services operations. An official announcement is expected on Friday, when the fourth quarter results are scheduled. Xerox is forecast to post drop in profits and sales for the fourth consecutive year.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that after the division of Xerox, Carl Icahn will get three seats on the board of services company. Icahn disclosed his stake in Xerox in last November and sought discussions over company's future. Icahn holds 8.1 percent stake in Xerox through his hedge fund. Icahn is the second largest shareholder in Xerox after the index giant Vanguard Group. 

Icahn had a role in several successful business splits including eBay Inc, Manitowoc Co and Gannett Co. The latest development of partition of the company unravels Xerox's major acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services Inc for $6 billion in 2010. It was Xerox's biggest ever acquisition. Xerox's market value is less than half of its annual sales of $20 billion. 

Financial Times further said that Xerox has been shifting its focus away from copier business to IT services segment. After suffering from drop in sales and profits for years, Xerox's Chief Executive Ursula Burns in October said the company was in the strategic review of its operations. 

A month later, Icahn announced his stake in the company. Icahn and Burns held a series of discussions on the future course of the company and arrived on breakup plan. Xerox's stock price fell by a quarter in 2015 and shed 13 percent further this year so far. Xerox share price is hovering at $9.23. 

Carl Icahn has been investing in companies for decades. After making investment, he pushes for major changes in management of the companies. Hewlett-Packard executed a similar split in 2014 as it divided its software and service operations from the printer and computer products. 

The division into two separate publicly-traded companies is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. The names of two separate companies and top management hierarchy and other positions are yet to be decided, according to NPR

Xerox says a shift from copiers to services is quite natural. Burns further said: "When we started, our mission was to automate work processes. We didn't have to go from making food to making airplanes. It was pretty close, it was in our neighborhood." Xerox expects that two new business entities will better serve various requirements of different clients. 

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