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Major shareholder demands Xerox disclose agreement with Fuji

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Xerox company is seen on building in Minsk

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Xerox company is seen on a building in Minsk, Belarus, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko/File Photo

(Reuters) - Major Xerox Corp <XRX.N> shareholder Darwin Deason has urged the photocopier pioneer to make public its joint venture agreement with Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp <4901.T>, saying U.S. securities laws require it.

Xerox and Fujifilm have a five-decade-old copier joint venture focusing on the Asia Pacific region including Japan and China, leaving Xerox to cover the rest of the world.

Shares of Xerox were down 1.2 percent in late trading on Wednesday.

Xerox, in a statement, said it reviewed the letter from Deason and believes that his assertions and characterizations are "false and misleading."

"The Xerox board of directors and management are comfortable with our disclosure and with the strategic direction in which the company is heading," the statement said.

Deason asked the company's board in a letter dated Jan. 17 to hire new and independent advisers to evaluate the photocopier company's strategic options with Fuji.

Deason said the options "including the potential termination of what I suspect but am unable to yet confirm is a one-sided value destroying agreement disfavoring Xerox."

The third-largest shareholder of Xerox said he had written to the board over eight months ago on the copier maker's relationship with Fuji and requested relevant documents but Xerox failed to provide them.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Xerox, under pressure to find new growth sources amid shrinking demand for its printer and copier business, was in talks on a deal with the Japanese camera maker that could include a change in control of Xerox.

Norwalk, Connecticut-based Xerox has also been targeted by activist investor Carl Icahn, its biggest shareholder, who said last month that the company "desperately" needed new leadership as it was slow to launch new products and increase revenue.

(Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru and Pushkala Aripaka and additional repoting by Sangameswaran S; Editing by Maju Samuel and Lisa Shumaker)