Pompeo ‘confident’ China trade talks will not be hurt over Iran oil sanctions

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves after a briefing on Iran at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 8, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 29 April 2019

Pompeo ‘confident’ China trade talks will not be hurt over Iran oil sanctions

  • Pompeo warned countries and companies that it would be a costly mistake to violate US sanctions by importing Iranian oil after Wednesday
  • China, India and Turkey are among Iran’s largest oil importers that were granted waivers from US sanctions

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday expressed confidence that trade talks between the United States and China will not be affected by the end of Iran oil waivers this week.
Pompeo warned countries and companies that it would be a costly mistake to violate US sanctions by importing Iranian oil after Wednesday, when the waivers for eight importers end.
China, India and Turkey are among Iran’s largest oil importers that were granted waivers from US sanctions to allow them time to find alternative supplies.
“We have had lots of talks with China about this issue,” Pompeo said at a newsmaker event by The Hill news outlet. “I’m confident that the trade talks will continue and run their natural course.”
His comments come as US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin heads to Beijing and said he hopes the two economic powerhouses can finalize a trade deal with two more rounds of talks left. .
Pompeo said the United States had worked to find alternative oil supplies to ensure the global oil market is well stocked as oil purchases from Iran are cut.
“We are convinced we can make sure the markets are adequately supplied. We are continuing to work on that,” he said.
“Companies that choose to violate the sanctions ... we will pursue and we will ensure they are held accountable for the violations they engage in,” he said.
Trump administration official said on Friday that neither a wind-down period nor a short-term waiver on China’s oil purchases are being considered.
Under US sanctions law, importers of Iranian oil including China, India and Turkey, could be allowed a wind-down period before getting to zero oil purchases, including a short-term waiver. Any wind-down measures would be different than the 180 day exceptions the Trump administration granted in November to China and seven other importers for significantly reducing oil purchases from Iran, measures set to end in May.
The United States reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after US President Donald Trump last spring unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 accord between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.


HP rejects Xerox takeover bid, says open to acquiring Xerox instead

Updated 18 November 2019

HP rejects Xerox takeover bid, says open to acquiring Xerox instead

  • In rejecting Xerox's $33.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer, HP said the offer “significantly” undervalued the personal computer maker
  • Xerox made the offer for HP on Nov. 5 after resolving its dispute with its joint venture partner Fujifilm Holdings Corp.
NEW YORK: HP Inc. said on Sunday it was open to exploring a bid for US printer maker Xerox Corp. after rebuffing a $33.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer from the latter as “significantly” undervaluing the personal computer maker.
Xerox made the offer for HP, a company more than three times its size, on Nov. 5, after it resolved a dispute with its joint venture partner Fujifilm Holdings Corp. that represented billions of dollars in potential liabilities.
Responding to Xerox’s offer on Sunday, HP said in a statement that it would saddle the combined company with “outsized debt” and was not in the best interest of its shareholders.
However, HP left the door open for a deal that would involve it becoming the acquirer of Xerox, stating that it recognized the potential benefits of consolidation.
“With substantive engagement from Xerox management and access to diligence information on Xerox, we believe that we can quickly evaluate the merits of a potential transaction,” HP said in its statement.
The move puts pressure on Xerox to open its books to HP. Xerox did not immediately respond on Sunday to a request for comment on whether it will engage with HP in negotiations as the potential acquisition target, rather than the acquirer.
HP on Sunday published Xerox CEO John Visentin’s Nov. 5 offer letter to HP, in which he stated that his company was “prepared to devote all necessary resources to finalize our due diligence on an accelerated basis.”
Activist investor Carl Icahn, who took over Xerox’s board last year together with fellow billionaire businessman Darwin Deason, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week that he was not set on a particular structure for a deal with HP, as long as a combination is achieved. Icahn has also amassed a 4% stake in HP.
Xerox had offered HP shareholders $22 per share that included $17 in cash and 0.137 Xerox shares for each HP share, according to the Nov. 5 letter. The offer would have resulted in HP shareholders owning about 48% of the combined company. HP shares ended trading on Friday at $20.18.
Many analysts have said there is merit in the companies combining to better cope with a stagnating printing market, but some cited challenges to integration, given their different offerings and pricing models.
Xerox scrapped its $6.1 billion deal to merge with Fujifilm last year under pressure from Icahn and Deason.
Xerox announced earlier this month it would sell its 25% stake in the joint venture for $2.3 billion. Fujifilm also agreed to drop a lawsuit against Xerox, which it was pursuing following their failed merger.

Test for new HP CEO
In 2011 as the centerpiece of its unsuccessful pivot to software. Little over a year later, it wrote off $8.8 billion, $5 billion of which it put down to accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures.
More recently, HP has been struggling with its printer business segment recently, with the division’s third-quarter revenue dropping 5% on-year. It has announced a cost-saving program worth more than $1 billion that could result in its shedding about 16% of its workforce, or about 9,000 employees, over the next few years.
Xerox’s stock has rallied under Visentin, who took over last year as CEO. However, HP said on Sunday that a decline in Xerox’s revenue since June 2018 from $10.2 billion to $9.2 “raises significant questions” regarding the trajectory of Xerox’s business and future prospects.