A major shareholder in Xerox Corp. has publicly challenged the board of directors to show greater transparency regarding the Norwalk company’s business dealings with Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp.
Dallas business executive Darwin Deason, who identified himself as the third-largest shareholder in Xerox, stated that his decision to publish his letter online was based on a lack of response by the board to concerns that he tried to address in private communications.
“Today, in order to protect all Xerox shareholders and to ensure that the company does not take further steps to damage our collective shareholding investment, I am changing my long-standing position to publicly demand that Xerox immediately disclose its critical joint venture agreement with Fujifilm Holdings Corporation in accordance with the unambiguous disclosure requirements of the U.S. securities laws,” Deason wrote. “I further demand that the board hire new and independent advisors following discussions with us to evaluate the company’s strategic options with Fuji, including the potential termination of what I suspect but am unable to yet confirm is a one-sided value destroying agreement disfavoring Xerox, that Fuji has repeatedly breached, including last year through the Asian ‘WorldCom’ accounting scandal at Fuji Xerox.”
Deason, who sold Affiliated Computer Services to Xerox in 2010 for $6.4 billion, also accused the board of secretly plotting with Fujifilm “in violation of the law to cook up a short-term Band-Aid (that) is insufficient and unwise in the extreme and warrants shareholder action.”
Xerox issued a statement that dismissed Deason’s letter as “false and misleading,” adding that the company’s leadership was “comfortable with our disclosure and with the strategic direction in which the company is heading.”