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COVID-19 sees Xerox halt HP takeover

Xerox has pressed pause on its bid to takeover HP amidst coronavirus concerns.

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Xerox has halted its HP takeover efforts due to the current coronavirus pandemic

A statement released by Xerox vice chairman and chief executive officer, John Visentin, cites the need to prioritise the health and safety of its employees, customers, partners and affiliates. It is also made clear that “above all other considerations” this includes its proposal to acquire HP.

Since making its initial £21bn cash-and-stock offer for HP in November, Xerox has proved undeterred in its efforts to acquire the firm. With previous efforts being unsuccessful, Xerox raised its bid to £27bn and nominated a slate of new board directors.

Xerox had also previously met multiple times with many of HP’s largest stockholders in the hope that they will back its offer, despite consistent refusal from HP’s directors.

...we believe it is prudent to postpone [...] meetings with HP shareholders so we can focus our time and resources on protecting Xerox’s various stakeholders from the pandemic

However, in light of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, Visentin says: “As we closely monitor reports from government and healthcare leaders across the globe and work with colleagues in the business community to minimise the spread and impact of the virus, we believe it is prudent to postpone releases of additional presentations, interviews with media and meetings with HP shareholders so we can focus our time and resources on protecting Xerox’s various stakeholders from the pandemic.”

Since the date of Xerox’s offer, there has been a decline in the market and a temporary suspension of trading in HP shares on March 10th and 12th which triggered market circuit breakers. 

Xerox has assured that it does not consider any of these factors to constitute a failure of any condition to its offer to acquire HP. The firm says it will take the same view on future temporary trading halts unless stated otherwise.

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