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CRN Interview: Attorney Andrew Stern On How His Firm Scored A Court Victory For Fujifilm

Andrew Stern spearheaded Fujifilm’s appeal of an injunction that killed a deal with Xerox, and resulted in the ouster of former Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson.

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Fujifilm Gets A Win

Fujifilm’s win last week in New York State Appellate Court puts the Tokyo company back in a position to negotiate a sale with Xerox as well as clearing the underbrush in an ongoing federal lawsuit it brought against the iconic American copier brand.

The appeals court removed an injunction that had barred Fujifilm from negotiating with Xerox, and had spelled the end for then-CEO Jeff Jacobson.

Andrew Stern, an attorney with Sidley Austin LLP, represents Fujifilm. Stern, a co-leader of the firm’s securities and shareholder litigation team, told CRN that the lower court in the case “inappropriately focused” on evidence, which caused Judge Barry Ostrager to overlook the business judgement rule, a presumption that business directors act in good faith.

Not only did the appeals court find that the business judgement rule applied, it also said former CEO Jeff Jacobson did not act in bad faith when he negotiated with Fujifilm to keep his job as CEO after the proposed takeover, an action the lower court had said made him “hopelessly conflicted.”

Since the court win, Xerox has been silent on whether it intends to resume negotiations with Fujifilm. The new CEO, John Visentin, and five new board members are all loyalists of Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason, who led the proxy fight to kill the Fujifilm deal.

Stern spoke with CRN about the appellate win and what could lie ahead for the two companies.

Xerox declined to comment. Icahn and Deason did not respond to multiple emails and telephone messages left by CRN requesting comment.

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