back to article Icahn and I will force a Xerox and HP wedding: Corporate raider urges HP shareholders to tell board to act 'NOW'

Corporate raider Carl Icahn isn't quietly accepting HP's rejection of Xerox's hostile $33.5bn takeover bid – he has accused the board of using delay tactics to keep their jobs and warning it can be done in a nice or not-so-nice way. HP and Xerox began private talks in the summer and Xerox's offer was made public in early …

  1. adam payne

    a standalone restructuring plan rather than to even explore an opportunity to enter into a combination that could bring about a much needed $2+ billion of cost synergies and possibly save the company

    What is that saving going to cost the workforce?

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge


      You've missed Icahn's motivation. He is literally ONLY concerned with the shareholders, not the employees or even the long-term future of the companies involved.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: @adam

        And of course, he is a shareholder.

        Or at least he will be long enough until the combined mess raises the price enough for him to sell and fuck off laughing into the sunset with bags of cash whilst the company destroys itself by the obvious cost cutting due to synergies/havign two lots of everything/etc.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: @adam

          whilst the company destroys itself by the obvious cost cutting due to synergies

          And, lets not forget, the merger/VC favourite of financing the merger with a huge and unsustainable debt load. Which means that the merged company will (almost) inevitably go under as it can't service the debt.

          But Icahn and his predatory ilk will have long since parted company, having obtained their blood money.

          Can you tell I'm not a fan?

          1. Dabooka

            Re: @adam

            RE: Servicing the debt.

            I agree, although when I highlighted this with Vodafone several months ago I was informed I didn't know what I was talking about. It turned into a debt payments vs tax on profit debate, missing entirely the small issue of servicing said debt.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @adam

          Well, he was honest: he said it was a "no-brainer".

          It's rare but refreshing for corporate raiders to admit they have no brains, only an insensate lust for money, but there you go.

      2. big_D Silver badge

        Re: @adam

        Exactly, he doesn't care if the merged company goes to the wall after a month, as long as he can sell his shares before his pyramid collapses.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @adam

        "He is literally ONLY concerned with the shareholders"

        Not shareholders in the plural. Just one shareholder. Himself.

        I really hope both lots of shareholders turn him down. Preferably with both boards then suing him for their costs.

    2. lglethal Silver badge

      "What is that saving going to cost the workforce?"

      Answer: Their jobs...

    3. Augie

      Nothing.. maybe delay them having to find new jobs..

      Nice chap this Icahn sounds....guess he needs more money to avoid taxes on.

    4. Mark 85

      What is that saving going to cost the workforce?

      Look at the history of takeovers. The workforce is cannon fodder once he strips the assets and sells them off. Yes, he's made billions for himself and stockholders. The workers.... get zip.

      1. IGotOut Silver badge

        That's not true. The workers get the sack.

  2. iron Silver badge

    > HP's market cap currently stands at $29.7bn and Xerox's is at $8.29bn.

    My maths says that is a no brainer but not in the way Mr Icahnt thinks. A company can't buy one worth more than 3x its own worth and if it can then your capitalist system is seriously broken.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Its offering shares in the new, united company plus cash, some raised by debt issuance, in return for larger HP's shares. It makes things more difficult, but smaller companies can and do buy larger ones all the time.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        some raised by debt issuance

        Ah yes - the favourite "don't think about tomorrow, just think of now" tool of the modern corporate raider.

      2. asdf

        agree but

        >smaller companies can and do buy larger ones all the time.

        True and plenty of examples where it worked I am sure but whenever I hear of the minnow swallowing bigger and bigger fish I think of WorldCom and yeah that didn't turn out so well in the end.

    2. Hollerithevo

      Yes it can

      It's called 'leverage' -- they can get funding based on their future worth.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Yes it can

        "they can get funding based on their future worth."

        Once they're loaded up with debt they can't afford their future worth is apt to be less than zero. Maplin was a case in point.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: they can get funding based on their future worth

        So that's why the capitalist system is breaking down. Too much stock put into virtual reality, not enough put into actual reality.

        Somebody needs to put a brake on the madness.

  3. Tom 35

    All of Carl Icahn's plans boil down to

    Borrow lots of money, give it to me and other opportunistic stock holders.

    Nothing about the company continuing to exist after he has buggered off with sacks of cash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All of Carl Icahn's plans boil down to

      The exact same damn thing he did at TWA. He'd love to do it again to another leading corporation. Plus, any idiot who thinks Donald J Trump is good at business is a moron. Only a brain-dead idiot would consider an individual that bankrupted a casino to be good at business.

      Hopefully the board tells him to go fuck himself, its a far cry from their day but Bill and Dave would have. Dion probably would have too. Crazy Leo and Meg probably would have gone along with it, but I don't think Mark Hurd or even Carly would have. I will say that its awful "funny" that they started making noise about this the same week that Enrique took the company over.

      Every HP employee I know (and I work for HP Ink so I know quite a few, including myself) who is aware of what's going on and know who Icahn't is and what he does would like to tell him the exact same thing.

      I'm hopeful that someone sees through Xerox and Icahn's bullshit, they're so desperate for this because they're hiding something, they're likely in a death spiral and it makes no sense to be acquired by them unless we want the same fate.

  4. big_D Silver badge

    Pot Kettle

    "The road to the graveyard on Wall Street is littered with the bones of companies, such as Eastman Kodak, which wasted a great deal of valuable time coming up with one ill-fated plan after another

    Hmm, it sounds a lot like Xerox should be on that list, looking back at the last couple of decades.

    I'm surprised it isn't HP looking to swallow Xerox. This sounds like one last, desperate gamble to save itself, rather than a positive thing for HP. Given that Icahn has more stock in Xerox, it also sounds like he has more to lose from Xerox having no vision and desperately trying to buy HP to remain in the public eye.

    It would be interesting to know, whether Icahn't also put the board of Xerox up to taking the HP takeover into consideration.

    It sounds like a conflict of interest for Icahn.

  5. luis river


    Enrique Lores CEO, say what recent plan is convert HP inc one services and soft company, is massive adjust corporate work forcé is comming, Carl Icahn is a powerfull shareholder only search profitability, is other world (often very hard). Otherwise HP inc HPE resemble trade mark dupilicity, one enough, for me it seem.

  6. Mike Moyle

    "While this might sound cynical, over the last several decades as an activist I have made billions and billions of dollars not only for Icahn Enterprise but for all shareholders by standing up to managements and boards that have refused to do anything that would change the status quo, which might mean threatening their huge incomes."

    The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.

    1. Hollerithevo

      Yep, good for him

      But good for the shareholders? In the long run? What is the track-record of companies Icahn has forced to bend to his will? Have there flourished after he passed their way? Di the shareholders continue to reap value?

      Of course the employees and customers do not count, so I am not asking how they fared.

    2. Carpet Deal 'em

      There's no dissonance here, only the short termism of someone who makes money solely from the price of the stock. Preserving the status quo with measured changes is beneficial to most companies in the medium term, but that really only benefits people in it for the dividends.

  7. Blackjack Silver badge

    This is the downside

    When a small company buys a bigger company using LBOs that most likely ends with the bigger company dying a decade or less later.

  8. lglethal Silver badge

    Hello IRS...

    "as an activist I have made billions and billions of dollars not only for Icahn Enterprise...

    Hmmm i wonder if those values much up to the tax he has been paying? Would that statement count as evidence in a court of law? Where are the IRS when you need them???

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hello IRS...

      Not digging into the finances of wealthy people. It's the lower classes that must be kept in place.

  9. chuckufarley Silver badge

    As if...

    ...The world needs another multi-billion dollar merged tech company. However, because a few ridiculously rich people want to be ludicrously rich people I think that the world just might get what it doesn't need.

    I would like to nominate a name for what the world doesn't need: HewPox.

  10. Claverhouse Silver badge

    "While this might sound cynical, over the last several decades as an activist I have made billions and billions of dollars not only for Icahn Enterprise but for all shareholders by standing up to managements and boards that have refused to do anything that would change the status quo, which might mean threatening their huge incomes.

    Apart from all else it seems a little demented to suggest that people ---- whether nice or nasty or whatever --- have an moral imperative to impoverish themselves in order to make oneself richer.

  11. sbt

    Icahn asks: What is the downside?

    Well, for a start there's the waste of time for HP's board when they could be actually focused on fixing the business rather than selling it. And then there's the disclosure of HP's sensitive information to a competitor in the diligence process that Xerox gets to keep even if the acquisition doesn't go ahead.

    And that's not even considering the effects on the employees and customers.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe it is time to re-unite HP Inc with HPE?

    What i see in all these things.. Looking at what Xerox still is and isn't...a few things spring to mind...

    They wouldn't know squat on how to handle the very healthy PC business side of HP Inc.. that would probably die away very fast.. The rest of their portfolio is the same as what HP Inc is offering (in terms of hardware anyway). Maybe not the same technology, but the same class of products, i don't see any advantage there.

    Also, anyone cared to look at the sales numbers of Xerox lately? Yes, HP may be struggling, but Xerox is drowning. I'm only looking at my country of course..but if check Xerox's partner network..all of them are small to very small partners (besides from a few e-tailers but those sell anything). None of the big players are still offering Xerox. Xerox could just as well be dead. HP Inc is the dominating player , followed by the likes of Lexmark, Brother, Canon and Epson..

    Given this, if no-one buys Xerox, they will die out a few years from now..

    Actually for HP Inc, and this may sound weird..the best thing they can do is to re-unite with HPE ... they use a lot of the same components (disks, memory, cpu's) hence would bring about much more leverage towards their respective suppliers. They still use a lot of the same systems, the same IT departments , etc..

    My 2cts..

  13. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    How selfish!

    I would like to borrow obscene amounts of money to buy your company, sell off all the parts that still hold any value (probably at knock down prices), distribute all the free cash to the shareholders (especially myself) then leave you with the smoking wreckage saddled with unserviceable debt because I just sold off your revenue stream.

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me. What is your problem?

  14. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I feel vindicated

    Things are proceeding exactly as I have foreseen.

  15. Grinning Bandicoot

    Icahn vs R&D

    Icahn's practices can easily be compared to the rancher who slaughters the herd bull in order market more meat in one season while presenting the sales figures to the new buyers. Largely wreckage behind him has been at the Research people because the numbers people count labs as cost centers rather than as assets. It has been attributed to him the statement of let somebody else develop and then we just buy it. The WALL that should be built is one around Icahn and his like minded cohorts and no 'lets make America great again' would have been necessary.

    I haven't purchased an HP item since 2001 because of the fancy foot avoiding warranty work. Hence I and other people avoid a rotten product and spread the word with the resultant falling sales. Let HP die a lonely death without feeding the bottomless maw of Mr. Greenmail at the expense of the future. But then he might be working for some galactic warlord looking for easy picking in which case he should be saluted for his fine work.

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