Fujifilm has confirmed that the technology agreement with Xerox will end in March next year, though existing products led by Iridesse will continue to be sold and supported.
The move follows Fujifilm’s acquisition of the final 25% of FujiXerox, its 58-year-old joint venture with the US company. This has been the distribution channel for Xerox products through Asia, China, Japan and Australasia. Xerox will now need its own distribution deals, or else to develop those controlled by HP should its attempt to purchase its rival be successful.
To that end Xerox has announced loans and other funding to support the proposed deal, to the tune of $24 billion. However, HP has responded saying that the Xerox valuation of $33 billion still under states its business “and is not a basis for discussion” according to a letter sent to the Xerox board by HP CEO Enrique Lores.
Xerox has secured the support of Citigroup, Mizuho Finance and Bank of America who are prepared to provide $24 billion in finance, though without saying on what terms. Of the HP shareholders only Carl Icahn has publicly supported the deal, and as major shareholder in Xerox, both stands to gain and is considered a driver for the merger.
Once the technology partnership ends on 31 March, Fuji will launch Fujifilm Business Innovation, a global rebranding of its print and document businesses. In an official statement, Fujifilm says the business will foster innovation with other companies in the group “by accelerating the market introduction of solutions and services that build on technologies related to the clapped, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.”
Both Fujifilm and Xerox will continue to provide each other with products for sales and distribution, in Asia where Fujifilm is strong and in North America and Europe where Xerox is stronger. Most of the Xerox colour print engines are Fujifilm products while Xerox has declared its intentions to source technology from other partners. Its A4 desktop laser printers are developed by HP.
Fujifilm Business Innovation will also compete head to head with Xerox in some product areas. In the expanding inkjet market, Xerox has led with Trivor in terms of continuous feed inkjet while Fujifilm has developed the FX1400, 100m/min 600dpi as a replacement for the 540W.