Fujifilm's 'optimal' Xerox deal set for inkjet print growth

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Fujifilm is taking global control of Xerox under a deal which takes the 56-year-old Fuji Xerox partnership to the world.

Previously the 75/25 joint venture Fuji Xerox has operated mainly in Japan and the Asia Pacific - including Australasia - while Xerox focussed on its core US and European markets.

Under the agreement approved yesterday and Tuesday by the two boards, Fuji Xerox and Xerox will be combined with Fujifilm owning 50.1 per cent of the new business, which will be known as Fuji Xerox. However, the individual 'Fuji Xerox' and 'Xerox' brands will be maintained in their respective operating regions.

History recalls that Xerox Corporation, established in 1906, has not always been the most adept in exploiting the technologies it developed. 'Xerography' became a generic term for ubiquitous toner-based copying, and famously the Apple Mac's WIMP (windows-icon-mouse-pulldown menus) user interface was inspired by a visit to Xerox's Palo Alto research centre.

A Fujifilm statement describes the transaction as the "optimal conclusion" for both companies. The 1962 partnership has been one of the most successful between companies in different countries.

"By leveraging Fujifilm's vast range of technologies, as well as its experience and knowhow in creating new businesses, (new) Fuji Xerox will accelerate its transformation, as a leading company not only in the office document business, which it has the No.1 position in, but also in commercial printing, centred around inkjet, as well as various types of industrial printing, and solution services that improve operational processes and productivity," the statement says.

The combined company is expected to deliver a total of US$1.7 billion in total annual cost savings by 2022, with approximately $1.2 billion of the total cost savings expected to be achieved by 2020.

A fundamental structural reform of the existing Fuji Xerox will improve earnings and productivity, and see it transform into a lean company. Optimising "the entire value chain", from R&D, manufacturing, procurement to logistics will enable it to bring new products to market quicker, while improving cost competitiveness

Meanwhile, the new company will gain access to proprietary image processing and document-related AI technologies, and have its market expanded. The company promises "innovative product developments" in photolithography through the "unique combination" of Fujifilm's technologies and new Fuji Xerox's document-related technologies.

Shigetaka Komori, chairman and chief operating officer of Fujifilm and chairman of the existing Fuji Xerox, has been named as as chairman of the new 12-member board, seven of whom will be appointed by Fujifilm. Five independent directors will be appointed from the Xerox board.

Xerox chief executive Jeff Jacobson will take that role in new Fuji Xerox, with the new company operating from headquarters in both Norwalk, Connecticut, and Minato, Tokyo. Completion of the deal is subject to conditions including approval by Xerox shareholders.

Peter Coleman

Pictured: Xerox at DRUPA in 2016

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