The acquisition announced on Wednesday comes as Xerox has been under pressure to find new sources of growth as it struggles to reinvent its legacy business amid waning demand for office printing. Fujifilm is also trying to streamline its copier business with a larger focus on document solutions services.
Consolidation of R&D, procurement and other operations would enable Fuji Xerox to deliver at least $1.7 billion in total cost savings by 2022, the two companies said.
Fujifilm now owns 75 percent of Fuji Xerox, the joint venture going back more than 50 years ago which sells photocopying products and services in the Asia-Pacific region.
The two companies said that Fuji Xerox will buy back that stake from Fujifilm for around $6.1 billion, using bank debt. Fujifilm will use those proceeds to purchase 50.1 percent of new Xerox shares. Plans were for the deal to be completed around July-August, they added.
The combined company will keep the Fuji Xerox name and become a subsidiary of Fujifilm, with dual headquarters in the United States and Japan, and listed in New York. It will be led by Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson, while Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori will serve as chairman.
The joint venture accounts for nearly half of Fujifilm’s sales and operating profit.
Both companies have struggled with slow sales of photocopy products, as businesses increasingly go paperless. Fujifilm on Wednesday reported a 29.4 percent drop in operating profit at its document solutions operations, which includes Fuji Xerox, for the third quarter, underperforming its imaging and information segments. Overall, the company reported a 3.4 percent increase in operating profit for the quarter.
“This has been a speedy decision, but I believe it’s a creative one,” Fujifilm CEO Komori told reporters at a briefing. “The new structure will leverage the strengths of our three companies.”
As part of its own restructuring, Fujifilm said it was cutting 10,000 jobs at Fuji Xerox, more than a fifth of its workforce at the joint venture, in the Asia Pacific region.
Xerox’s CEO said the combined company would gain an increased edge in new technologies, along with higher revenues and cost synergies, while Xerox shareholders would also benefit from a $2.5 billion special cash dividend resulting from the deal.
The takeover deal comes less than a year after Fujifilm admitted improper accounting standards at Fuji Xerox, but Komori said that Xerox’s strong governance standards could be beneficial to the new company.