Xerox Corp. will nominate as many as 11 directors to the HP Inc. board, according to the Wall Street Journal. as the company pushes its unsolicited $33.5B takeover offer. The current HP board consists of 12 members, including chairman Chip Bergh, CEO and managing director Enrique Lores, and former CEO Dion Weisler.
In a statement, Xerox nominated the following as board candidates:
Betsy Atkins: Betsy Atkins was previously Chair and CEO of Clear Standards, a software company acquired by SAP in 2009. She also co-founded Ascend Communications, which was acquired by Lucent Technologies in 1999 for $23 billion. Today, she is Chief Executive Officer of Baja Corporation, a venture capital firm she founded to make seed investments in technology, energy and life sciences companies. Ms. Atkins serves on the Boards of Wynn Resorts and SL Green Realty and previously served on the Boards of Schneider Electric, Cognizant Technology Solutions, HD Supply Holdings and Darden Restaurants, among others. She is a venture capital investor, three-time CEO and expert on corporate governance and board oversight, having written two books on the subject (Be Board Ready: The Secrets to Landing a Board Seat and Being a Great Director and Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director).
George Bickerstaff: George Bickerstaff is currently co-founder and Managing Director of M.M. Dillon & Co., a leading healthcare and technology boutique investment bank. Prior to co-founding M.M. Dillon, he had a successful career as a corporate executive in the technology and healthcare industries, most recently as the Chief Financial Officer of Novartis Pharma AG. He currently serves on the Boards of Axovant Sciences and Innoviva, among others, and previously served on the Board of ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Takeda for $5.2 billion in 2017. Mr. Bickerstaff brings financial and operational experience in the healthcare, pharmaceutical and information technology industries, along with expertise in accounting and regulatory matters and insight into the views of shareholders, investors, analysts and others in the financial community.
Carolyn Byrd: Carolyn Byrd is Chair and Chief Executive Officer of GlobalTech Financial, which she founded in 2000 after a long career at The Coca-Cola Company. She currently serves on the Board of Regions Financial Corporation and has previously served on the Boards of, among others, Freddie Mac, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and the St. Paul Companies, which merged with Travelers in 2003 to create the second largest business insurer in the U.S. Ms. Byrd has held many positions in which she was responsible for key managerial, strategic, financial and operational decisions. In 2018, she was named one of the “2018 Most Influential Corporate Directors” by WomenInc.
Jeannie Diefenderfer: Jeannie Diefenderfer spent 28 years at Verizon, where, among other things, she led the integration of GTE into Bell Atlantic after GTE was acquired in an all-stock deal valued at $52.8 billion. She now advises Boards and Chief Executive Officers as founder and Chief Executive Officer of consulting firm courageNpurpose. She currently serves on the Board of Windstream Holdings, is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Tufts University and is a member of the Workforce Development & Support Advisory Panel at the U.S. National Security Agency, where she advises on workforce development and diversity and inclusion. Ms. Diefenderfer has considerable technology expertise as a senior engineer at Verizon and significant experience integrating complex legacy operations.
Kim Fennebresque: Kim Fennebresque was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cowen Group for nine years. Prior to Cowen, he led the Corporate Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions departments at UBS and the Investment Banking division at Lazard Freres & Co. He currently serves on the Boards of Ally Financial, BlueLinx Holdings and Albertsons Companies, and he previously served on the Boards of several civic organizations, including the TEAK Fellowship and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Finance Committee. Mr. Fennebresque has experience evaluating, negotiating and executing complex mergers and acquisitions and overseeing capital allocation and risk-management matters.
Carol Flaton: Carol Flaton has served as a Managing Director at AlixPartners, a global consulting firm specializing in restructuring, turnarounds, enterprise improvement and digital consulting. She previously held senior positions at Lazard Freres & Co. and Credit Suisse, among others. Her board experience includes EP Energy Corporation and Jupiter Resources. Ms. Flaton has expertise in banking, finance and restructuring across multiple industries, with a focus on companies undergoing complex transformations.
Matthew Hart: Matthew Hart most recently served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Hilton Hotels until the buyout of Hilton by Blackstone in 2007. He currently serves on the Boards of American Airlines, American Homes 4 Rent and Air Lease Corporation. He previously served on the Boards of U.S. Airways, Kilroy Realty Corporation and America West Holdings, among others. Mr. Hart brings experience as a senior operating and finance executive for several large global companies including Hilton, Walt Disney and Marriott.
Fred Hochberg: Fred Hochberg was most recently the Chairman and President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States during the Obama administration. Before entering public service, Mr. Hochberg served as, among other things, President and Chief Operating Officer of Lillian Vernon Corporation, a company he transformed from a small private business into an international, publicly traded corporation. Mr. Hochberg’s tenure as the longest ever serving Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States gives him significant expertise and insight into global trade matters, and his experience leading and modernizing large, complex organizations, both in the government and for-profit spheres, provides him with substantial transformation experience.
Jacob Katz: Jacob Katz was Chairman of Grant Thornton, a leading independent audit, tax and advisory firm. He currently serves on the Boards of Jefferies Financial Group and Herc Holdings. Mr. Katz has executive management and leadership skills gained in many leadership roles at Grant Thornton, including as Chairman, New York and Northeast Managing Partner, and Global Leader of Financial Services. His experience with various industries during his long tenure with Grant Thornton provides him with knowledge in addressing public company financial and accounting matters.
Nichelle Maynard-Elliott: Nichelle Maynard-Elliott most recently served as Executive Director of Mergers & Acquisitions for Praxair, where, among other things, she helped lead Praxair through its $90 billion merger with the Linde Group in 2018. Ms. Maynard-Elliott currently serves on the Board of Element Solutions, a specialty chemicals company. Ms. Maynard-Elliott has a track record of creating shareholder value by employing financial, legal, mergers and acquisitions and business development expertise.
Thomas Sabatino, Jr.: Thomas Sabatino, Jr. most recently served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Aetna, where he was also a member of its Executive Committee. He has held a number of other General Counsel and executive leadership positions at global companies, including Hertz, Walgreens and United Airlines, where he helped lead the company through its merger with Continental Airlines. He is currently on the Board of Teligent, a pharmaceutical company. Mr. Sabatino brings business acumen and legal expertise in corporate governance, crisis management, mergers and acquisitions and complex litigation resolution.
“HP shareholders have told us they believe our acquisition proposal will bring tremendous value, which is why we lined up $24 billion in binding financing commitments and a slate of highly qualified director candidates,” said John Visentin, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox, in a statement. “We believe HP shareholders will be better served by a new slate of independent directors who understand the challenges of operating a global enterprise and appreciate the value that can be created by realizing the synergies of a combination with Xerox.”
In response to the initial Wall Street Journal report, HP issued this response:
We believe these nominations are a self-serving tactic by Xerox to advance its proposal, that significantly undervalues HP and creates meaningful risk to the detriment of HP shareholders.
The HP Board of Directors is committed to serving the best interests of all HP shareholders and to pursuing the most value-creating path. Value creation for HP shareholders is not dependent on a Xerox combination. There are numerous opportunities available to HP to drive sustainable long-term value. These include the execution of HP’s strategic plan, and the deployment of its strong balance sheet for increased share repurchases of its significantly undervalued stock, and for value-creating M&A. Xerox’s proposed transaction attempts to use HP’s financial capacities for the benefit of Xerox shareholders.
We believe that Xerox’s proposal and nominations are being driven by Carl Icahn, and his large ownership position in Xerox means that his interests are not aligned with those of other HP shareholders. Due to Mr. Icahn’s ownership position, he would disproportionately benefit from an acquisition of HP by Xerox at a price that undervalues HP.
Mr. Icahn has meaningful influence over Xerox and its Board of Directors given this ownership position; the role he played in the appointment of Xerox’s current CEO, who is a former Icahn consultant; and the ties Mr. Icahn has to members of the Xerox Board, including Xerox’s Chairman, an Icahn employee.
The HP Board is unwavering in its commitment to HP shareholders and will continue to take all appropriate actions to advance and protect HP shareholders’ best interests.
Xerox bought a small stake in HP during recent weeks, which gives it the right to nominate directors for elections to be held at HP’s annual meeting this summer, with the deadline for nominations tomorrow.
Since November, Xerox has made two formal offers to acquire HP, offered packages ranging between $30 billion and $32 billion in cash and stock deals. HP has called the offers too low and questioned Xerox’s ability to fund an acquisition, even after Xerox secured $24 billion in financing from three major banks.