Report: Xerox has designs on HP board
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Xerox could attempt to gain control of HP’s board, in the latest move in its hostile takeover approach.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Xerox is planning to nominate a slew of directors of its choosing to the HP board. The deadline for nominations is tomorrow (24 January).
Xerox has reportedly acquired a small stake in HP to facilitate the action. Activist investor Carl Icahn, Xerox’s largest shareholder, also owns a stake in HP.
HP has snubbed Xerox’s $33bn takeover proposal, which it says undervalues the business. The company currently has a 12-strong board including chairman Chip Bergh, chief executive Enrique Lores, and former CEO Dion Weisler.
The report suggested that Xerox could nominate as many as 11 board members.
Neither firm has commented.
Update: Xerox issued formal notification of its intended 11 nominees in an SEC filing at the start of trading on the NYSE today (23 January).
The nominees are: Betsy Atkins, George Bickerstaff, Carolyn Byrd, Jeannie Diefenderfer, Kim Fennebresque, Carol Flaton, Matthew Hart, Fred Hochberg, Jacob Katz, Nichelle Maynard-Elliott and Thomas Sabatino Jr.
Xerox stated: “The slate to be nominated includes former senior executives from dozens of the world’s leading companies, including Aetna, United Airlines, Hilton Hotels, Novartis, Verizon and more. The candidates were chosen because of their expertise overseeing and executing significant company transformations and combinations, with demonstrated track records of creating value for shareholders.”
In response, HP described Xerox's plan as “self-serving”.
A spokesperson said: “These nominations are a self-serving tactic by Xerox to advance its proposal, which significantly undervalues HP and creates meaningful risk to the detriment of HP shareholders.”