WSJ Report: Xerox Exploring a Bid for HP

Jamie Bsales
Nov 6, 2019

The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Xerox’s board of directors discussed the possibility of purchasing HP Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth north of $27 billion. While we don’t have any information about the veracity of the WSJ report or the likelihood of it coming to pass, the combination (in some form) of HP and Xerox has been speculated about for several years.

Xerox executives–the team put in place by activist investors in the wake of the scuttled sale to FUJIFILM Holdings– have spoken publicly about their openness to finding other engine suppliers beyond Fuji-Xerox, and with HP they would have that. HP could benefit from Xerox’s strong channel-partner organization. Indeed, the two companies already announced a closer working relationship earlier this year. And while the Wall Street Journal described the pair as “two fading stars of technology” (a characterization we don’t agree with), a combined company would be in a very formidable position in both A3/A4 office equipment and related software, as well as in the production print space. HP also has a growing 3D-manufacturing business, which could be an attractive growth area for a resurgent Xerox. The combined companies would also be an innovation powerhouse: Xerox’s PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) and HP Labs are already among the most prolific organizations in the country when it comes to patent applications.

Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that smart money was on HP purchasing Xerox. But now with Xerox stock trading at a 10-year high and the company flush with a $2.3 billion down payment available from the sale of its half of the  joint venture with FUJIFILM–not to mention HP stock trading at historically low multiples (until this news leaked, that is)–Xerox may be in the better financial position to leverage such an acquisition . The WSJ reported that Xerox already had financing commitments lined up. The company could also consider selling HP’s Personal System’s Group to help pay down some of the debt incurred by the purchase.

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