Xerox today said it has put attempt to launch a hostile takeover of rival HP on ice in the face of the “escalating COVID-19 pandemic”.
The Connecticut-headquartered printing and publishing hardware firm said it would “postpone” meetings with HP shareholders as a result.
It cited the need to “prioritize the health and safety of its employees, customers, partners and affiliates over and above all other considerations”.
John Visentin, Xerox CEO said it would pause “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.”
The company added: “For the avoidance of doubt, Xerox does not consider the market decline since the date of its offer or the temporary suspension of trading in HP shares that occurred on March 10, 2020 and March 12, 2020 as a result of market-wide circuit breakers procedures to constitute a failure of any condition to its offer to acquire HP.”
It added: “Xerox will take the same view on any future temporary trading halts, unless otherwise stated in advance.”
HP shares fell 13 percent yesterday to $16.73, triggering market circuit breakers, before clawing back some of the losses today.
Earlier this month Xerox offered HP shareholders $24.00 per share. ($18.40 in cash and 0.149 Xerox shares).
HP responded to that offer with a poison-pill tactic under which if anyone buys more than 20 percent of its shares, HP will issue discounted shares to its other shareholders, diluting (a buyer like) Xerox’s stake.