back to article Icahn smell money! Corporate raider grabs $1.2bn of HP stock to push for Xerox merger

It was only a matter of time before Carl Icahn got involved in the developing story that is HP and Xerox's marriage. The IT industry's biggest, baddest corporate raider is using his $1.2bn stake in HP to push for nuptials. At least this is the view today expressed by the Wall Street Journal, which was told by the activist …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The man is certainly financially competent

    Where his own finances are concerned, that is. Everything I have read about him tells me he is also a major pain in the behind.

    So Icahn is behind this merger. Well now things are taking shape : Icahn wants it because he thinks he will be able to benefit from it. The number of layoffs that this merger would generate is none of his concern. So he will push and maneuver, then bother everyone to hell, then rant and rave until he gets what he wants.

    I almost feel sorry for the boards of HP and Xerox. Almost.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: The man is certainly financially competent

      I do feel sorry for their staff.

    2. Scotthva5

      Re: The man is certainly financially competent

      All Icahn cares about is short-term volatility and cares nothing about long-term strategic vision. Just how many people will lose their jobs just to satisfy Icahn's insatiable appetite for destruction is anyone's guess.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The man is certainly financially competent

      If competent means a financial rapist with no regards for the full ecosystem, and short-sighted short term looting of companies that he chooses to get involved in, then indeed he is exceedingly competent. The man rips apart organizations and lives for financial gain in a legal manner. There is no value-add in anything he does except for his own personal gain.

    4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge

      Re: The man is certainly financially competent

      "I think a combination is a no-brainer, I believe very strongly in the synergies,"

      And at the end of the mergers, the new entity will (still) be flogging printers and inks.

      They are not called "raiders" for nothing.

      Medieval raiders only care about the loot. When they are done, they kill (or enslave) survivors and burn anything left to the ground.

      Not much different to modern day financial versions.

      Icann cares nothing more than the profit he will/might get when he sells his shares.

      At the end of the day, the low-level staff will be the biggest losers.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "HP has strength in printers and Xerox in copiers."

    Printers and copiers are the same animal and have been for a long time. I've worked in a printing shop where there may have been a few HP printers in the office but where the lower volume production printers were Xerox. OTOH our HP all-in-one copies SWMBO's patchwork class handouts every week.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Xerox do make very nice upmarket printers. I think HP OEMs a lot of their own more upmarket offerings on the laser side.

      If after a merger Xerox flogged the inkjet printers to Canon or Epson, it might make for more focus on both sides.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "flogged the inkjet printers to Canon or Epson"

        I don't think either are interested. Maybe some of the industrial inkjet printer business to get the customers, but not the lower-end consumer ones they already cover fully with their own products.

        Maybe they can find a Chinese buyer.

        1. NeilPost Bronze badge

          Re: "flogged the inkjet printers to Canon or Epson"

          I can’t see any reason Epson or Canon to want the inkjet business other than to shutter it to grow market share.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      The function on my Canon MF620C that gets used the most is the scanner. It means I can fit a whole filing cabinet of stuff inside a micro SD card.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >HP has strength in printers and Xerox in copiers.

      And HP Inc is also a major PC vendor...

      I wonder if the idea is to sell this division to Dell...

    4. NeilPost Bronze badge

      We have had both Xerox and HP Mopiers. To be honest the HP’s are better.

      Don’t think I have *ever* seen a standalone Xerox ‘copier’ ... ever. Canon, Minolta, Ricoh etc...before they became multi-function... scan, copy, mail, print, fax

  3. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Question...

    ...does this mean toner for a Xerox copier will now cost about the exact same as the copier did in the first place?

  4. The Average Joe

    Icahn is a D!ck

    when he owned a lot of chrysler he said to put more bump in his pocket they needed to chop the company up into little pieces and throw it out of the boat like chum.... That guy should become a fisherman and get out of the financial industry. We do want our beloved crysler/dodge/jeep cars and trucks to continue because we love them, investors, not so much

    1. FlossyThePig

      Re: Icahn is a D!ck

      ...We do want our beloved crysler/dodge/jeep cars and trucks to continue because we love them...

      Don't Fiat own the brands now? Soon to merge with PSA. They are all European now.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: Icahn is a D!ck

        Fiat-Chrysler is the merged entity after the previous Daimler-Chrysler ran aground and was disbanded.

        Quite a turnaround, as Fiat was largely bankrupt 10 years ago.... and they are now pursuing a merger with Peugot-Citroen-Vauxhall/Opel after being spurned by the Renault-Nissan Alliance after the French government (as a major shareholder) blocked it.

    2. Qumefox

      Re: Icahn is a D!ck

      You might love them, but while i'm not usually picky about brands, the one Chrysler vehicle i've ever owned completely put me off ever owning another one. That intrepid was the biggest pile of crap ever.

      1. IGotOut

        Re: Icahn is a D!ck

        You've just summed up most of the US car industry.

        It's why they fail so badly outside the US. Yes they are cheap, but they are utter crap. Why buy a US car, when you can buy, say, Korean for the same price, but with much better build quality, reliability and warranties.

  5. tmTM

    Dinosaurs of a digital age

    Neither occupy a growth market and it won't be too long before the bottom really drops out and they go into freefall.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dinosaurs of a digital age

      Not sure why printing should become obsolete in the digital age - its been a while since it was restricted to paper.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Dinosaurs of a digital age

        I've saved nearly €700 in paper and toner "printing" to ebook. Read, annotate and copy back notes to laptop from an Amazon Kindle or Rakuten Kobo. Sony has a 13" + size one for PDFs called Electronic paper.

        The eink is a niche. Inherently useless for colour (possible but about x6 dimmer) or video (massive ghosting and lag), but viable for paperback book sized text & B&W images. Reformatted web sites via Wordprocessor & Calibre are OK.

        We just use the Laser printer for colour and scanning. Ink jet is too expensive and unreliable, we gave them up once everyone we knew had laptops and smartphones (+ Viber) to see the family snaps.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Dinosaurs of a digital age

      One of the great myths of finance is that growth should be expected to go on for ever. It doesn't. Every new market looks as if it's taking off exponentially. It isn't. It's sigmoidal. If you're dealing with something consumable it'll flatten out at a fixed level of consumption. If you're dealing with something durable it flattens out at a given level of installed base; sales are the first differential of the installed base.

      Expect the market to saturate. For consumables it's at a highish level which is why HP is keen on making the most out of ink and really in trouble if it can't make the most of the market. For durables it's basically replacement plus what can be squeezed out of the market with "upgrades" and "enhancements". That doesn't mean they're dinosaurs, it just means that the market's matured, just like you should have expected.

  6. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Financial market maven malice is afoot

    There was a time when conducting business was based on doing something, and doing it well, periodically coming up with something new and different and getting it to market in a timely manner, and keeping one's customers happy with one's product.

    Now, conducting business is much more interested in paying the C suite utterly riduculous salaries, lying tooth, nail, toe and balls to wallstreet left right and centre using the latest buzzword bingo bullshit in order to increase the valuation of corporate stock. It is almost like the product, or services, are an *afterthought* these days, and Carl Icahn't is the epitome of this version of capitalism.

    Anyone have a sacrificial altar we could use? Preferably with fire?

    (you'd think the weather here was making me even grumpier than normal today wouldn't you?)

  7. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Boffin

    Elementary hydrodynamics...

    Because when you combine a sinking ship with a giant boulder, the combination will undoubtedly float!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Elementary hydrodynamics...

      I'd have thought elementary marketing, at least for H/W, would be that once everybody's bought what they need of whatever it is the ship isn't actually sinking, it's just become a rowing boat.

  8. Mage Silver badge
    Facepalm

    activist investor

    I keep mentioning this on Carl Icahn stories:

    "That word doesn't mean what you think it means"

    The correct descriptions are indeed Corporate Raider, Vulture Capitalist, Speculator... Maybe even Serial Asset stripper. Is there ANYONE that's an Activist Investor? You know, like Greenpeace buying into a Whaling Company to get them to make money catching plastic waste from the ocean and recycling it. I know a poor example. Maybe someone can think of one.

    1. Persona Bronze badge

      Re: activist investor

      Activist Investors go bankrupt so quickly you don't even notice they were there.

      1. Not Elvis
        WTF?

        Re: activist investor

        Looks like Icahn has found another victim and has his financial rape kit packed and ready.

    2. J. Cook Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: activist investor

      Hey now! Let's leave the noble Vulture out of this!

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