Fujifilm Holdings of Japan announced to takeover Xerox, a US-based company, the services of which has become synonymous to “photocopy” itself, in a multibillion dollar deal that is expected to be completed by July to August of 2018.
The two companies have a long-established collaboration history that goes as far back as 1962 when Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd. was founded. It became the first-ever joint venture formed between a Japanese company and an American company. Fujifilm Holdings owned 75% while Xerox owned the rest. Through Fuji Xerox, the two companies sold document solutions products and services across the Asia Pacific Region, with Xerox serving the US market.
With the 2018 announcement of the impending takeover, Fujifilm Holdings is buying back its share into Fuji Xerox for $6.1 billion. Under the new setup, the company will remain to be called Fuji Xerox to take advantage of brand recall and long history. Fujifilm will own 50.1%, making it the majority owner, with Xerox owning the rest. The new entity, Fuji Xerox, will become a subsidiary of Fujifilm.
PHOTOCOPIERS AND THE DIGITAL AGE
Fuji Xerox was specifically developed to serve the Asia-Pacific markets. Traditional business includes document printing and copying where the company makes revenues from both sales of devices and services.
With office processes now largely driven by significant changes arising from the growing digital and online landscapes, much less documents are being printed out. What’s more, increasing concern over the safety and security of documents are further limiting the volume of copies being printed.
In business terms, the proliferation of increasingly paperless transactions means negative industry growth. An IBISWorld Report cites the growth of the copier and office equipment wholesaling industry to be at —0.3% between 2012 and 2017.
Following the announcement of the takeover, Fuji Xerox and Fujifilm Holdings came out with a press release bearing its promising growth projections. The PR reads, “The combined company is expected to deliver a total of USD $1.7 billion in total annual cost savings by 2022, with approximately $1.2 billion of the total cost savings expected to be achieved by 2020.”
HOW FUJI XEROX HAS FARED
In the three years covering 2014 to 2016, the company revenues were positive but declining. Whereas revenues were at ¥1,166.9 billion in 2014, the company reported only ¥1,080.9 in revenues in 2016.
In 2016, majority of the revenue was generated from product sales (44.1%) which includes desktop printers, scanners, and other multi-functional devices. The rest were generated from global services (17.3%), office printers (15.1%) and production services (12.9%).
According to Printing Industry Reports by IBISWorld, revenues in the industry have been declining by 2.5% annually between 2012 and 2017. The report projects increase in revenue between 2017 and 2022. The disruption caused by digitization will continue but, industry players, the report said, will continue to find innovative ways to stay profitable. In general, printers have been providing value-added services, such as content development, to stay relevant in an increasingly digital environment.
A report released by the Camera and Imaging Products Association shows that 18.9 million camera units were sold between September 2017 and January 2018 alone. This represents a 13.5 % increase in revenues which favors the future growth of Fujifilm.
RESTRUCTURING AND 10,000 JOB CUTS
Major changes can be expected to happen, beginning with the leadership of Fuji Xerox. Company operations will be led by Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson while Fujifilm CEO Shigetaka Komori will serve as the Chairperson.
That’s not all. Fujifilm has also announced that an estimated 10,000 job cuts from its offices in Tokyo and overseas will also be implemented. This decision will lay off headcount that are considered obsolete and redundant. This move is projected to save the company some $450 million.
Here’s the growth strategy that will be employed by Fuji Xerox in the next five years:
- Expand product and service offerings in the office market while also broadening market reach in all regions.
- Invent and innovate new, cost competitive products that are relevant to the markets served.
- Provide productivity solutions by optimizing the use of technologies that are uniquely available to Fuji Xerox and Fujifilm.
- Identify new market segments to serve that convergence of solutions involving “photography, inkjet, photolithography*, optical etc., and new Fuji Xerox’s document-related technologies”.
These strategic growth projections will be paralleled with an increasing focus of the business of Fuji Xerox to creating more value by selling productivity solutions that can transform businesses, along with the continued expansion of Fujifilm’s business in high growth industries such as healthcare. Shortly after the takeover announcement on Fuji Xerox, Fujifilm also acquired Toyoma Chemical, a Japanese drugmaker, which expands its business to include drug manufacturing.
The PR further makes a bold projection that the “consolidated sales of Fujifilm will far exceed 3 trillion yen” or more than $270 million.
Currently the business operation of Fujifilm is divided into three business areas: Imaging Solutions, Information Solutions, and Document Solutions. In the first area, Fujifilm offers color films, electronic imaging, optical devices, color paper and chemicals, and photofinishing equipment. In the second area, Fujifilm caters to the healthcare industry, and provides highly functional materials and devices. The products and services offered by Fuji Xerox fall under the third business area of Fujifilm.
Fujifilm has generally been successful in finding new niche markets where it can remain relevant, that includes offering imaging devices for the medical field. Its old world nemesis, Kodak, was not as fortunate when the camera film business became obsolete. Kodak filed for bankruptcy and eventually closed off in 2012. Xerox, it seems, couldn’t think out-of-the box either. Xerox’s Jacobson and its Chairman Robert Kegan were both formerly affiliated with Xerox.
Prior to Fujifilm’s announcement of a takeover on Fuji Xerox, Xerox has been under pressure to strategize its growth plans for the near future, with a strong clamor for a change in leadership. Xerox reported a net loss amounting to $196 million in FY2017 Q4.