American tech firm, HP, has announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously rejected the Xerox’s recent buyout offer. In a letter to John Visentin, Xerox Vice Chairman and CEO, the Xerox board said that the offer “significantly undervalues HP and is not in the best interests of HP shareholders … the Board also considered the highly conditional and uncertain nature of the proposal, including the potential impact of outsized debt levels on the combined company’s stock.”.
The rejection comes less than two weeks after The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Xerox was looking to acquire HP’s PC business with a cash-and-stock deal worth $33.5 billion, which is more than HP’s current market value of around $27 billion. According to sources quoted by WSJ, Xerox’s offer was backed by “an informal funding commitment from a major bank”, with subsequent reports suggesting that the company had offered $22 per share – 77 percent in cash and 23 percent in stock.
According to CNBC, the buyout plan was backed by billionaire investor, Carl Icahn, who already owned a 10.6 percent stake in Xerox before recently buying a $1.2 billion stake in HP. As per the report, he was pushing for the merger of the two companies because he believed that the combined entity would be beneficial for shareholders of both companies.
It’s worth noting here that the company Xerox was looking to buy was HP Inc – the hardware vendor that sells PCs and consumer printers – rather than the enterprise data-storage company, HP Enterprise, which was spun off as a separate business back in 2015.