Icahn, Deason team up to push for Xerox sale, sack CEO Jacobson

Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, the largest and third-largest shareholders of Xerox Corp, jointly plan to push the printer and photocopier maker to explore options, including a sale of the firm, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Icahn and Deason, who together own 15.7 per cent of the photocopier pioneer, have earlier separately called on the company to break off or renegotiate a joint venture with Fujifilm Holdings Corp, saying it was unfavourable to Xerox. Icahn has also called for Xerox chief executive Jeff Jacobson to be replaced.

CNBC reports that two of Xerox's largest shareholders, Ichan and Deason have formed an alliance with the plan to call for the sale of the company along with the immediate termination of Jacobson.

The two shareholders plan to ask Xerox to explore options, including selling itself, breaking off its long-running joint venture with Fujifilm, and immediately firing Jacobson.

The Journal had previously reported that Fujifilm and Xerox were discussing deals, including a change of control of Xerox, though not a full sale.

In a statement, Xerox said, ''The Xerox Board of Directors and management are confident with the strategic direction in which the Company is heading and we will continue to take action to achieve our common goal of creating value for all Xerox shareholders.''

The alliance of the two investors will increase the pressure the photocopying pioneer has been enduring with the steady move towards a digital world.

The document solutions and services company that is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut was founded in Rochester, New York.

Deason has been asking the company to make public the terms of its deal with Fujifilm, which he called ''one-sided''. Xerox has described Deason's criticism as ''false and misleading''.

The five-decade-old joint venture, 75-per cent owned by Fujifilm and 25 per cent by Xerox, is a pillar of Fujifilm's business, accounting for nearly half the group's overall operating profit. It has limited prospects for future growth, however, because of declining demand for office printing.

The reported operating profit of the joint venture, called Fuji Xerox, was about $750 million on sales of $10 billion in the year ended last March.

Fujifilm declined to comment on the Journal report.