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Xerox To Split Into 2 Companies: 1 For Documents, 1 For Processes

Xerox, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., says the names of the two companies have yet to be determined.
Douglas Healey
Xerox, headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., says the names of the two companies have yet to be determined.

Xerox will be splitting into two companies — one dedicated to document management, including the printing and copying technology that made Xerox's name, and another for business process outsourcing.

The split will be completed by the end of the year. The names of the two companies, as well as their leadership structures, have yet to be determined, Xerox says.

Activist investor Carl Icahn, who has spent decades making major investments in companies, then pushing for significant changes in management, announced he had a large stake in Xerox late last year.

Under the newly announced division, Icahn will get to name three of the nine directors on the board of the business processes company, The Associated Press reports.

In 2014, Hewlett-Packard performed a similar split, dividing its software and services operations from its printer and computer products.

Not familiar with Xerox's business process services? As the company's CEO, Ursula Burns, explained to NPR's Renee Montagne in 2012, you might find yourself interacting with the Xerox Corp. when you load up your E-ZPass toll-payment account or pay for a ticket for running a red light.

Back then, Burns said the shift from documents to services was natural. "When we started, our mission was to automate work processes," she said. "We didn't have to go from making food to making airplanes. It was pretty close — it was in our neighborhood."

But now, Xerox says, it has become clear that the two branches of the business "serve distinct client needs, have different growth drivers, and require customized operating models and capital structures."

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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.