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Local reaction to Xerox-Fuji merger

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Rochester, N.Y. - A onetime Rochester giant. Xerox is now in the hands of Japanese company Fuji.

"We had things like Kodak and Xerox that made [Rochester] a place that had an element of history to it, that made it important for people to see and enjoy those kinds of things,” said Daniel Garver of Rochester. “Now that that's gone, it's sad to see."

The $61 billion deal between Xerox and Fujifilm gives Fuji more than half of the newly combined company. The new name will be “Fuji Xerox."

The announcement of a merger brings many questions, including the fate of the more than 3,400 local Xerox workers. Xerox said the deal will position the company as a global leader in innovative print technologies.

"My first reaction when I saw this headlines was concern when I saw the potential for job cuts," said Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce president Bob Duffy.

Fujifilm told Bloomberg the merger will result in 10,000 job cuts in Asia. But the impact locally won't be clear until Xerox and Fuji officially merge.

“People aren't really relying on the businesses that we have in Rochester,” Garver said. “There's a lot here that's historic, and it's sad to see it all disappear."

In 1974, Xerox’s local employment peaked at 16,000. Now, it's thinned to 3,400. Rochesterians have taken notice.

"It's sad to see a local business like that, that's been here for so long merge with another company now, so someone can own them, so it can still stay afloat," Garver said.

Duffy said he spoke with a Xerox official and he doesn't believe local jobs will be lost - at least for now.

"When you have a consolidation, there's always going to be opportunities for cost reductions, so that's the way business will work," Duffy said. "If anything, we're hoping this enhance some of the markets that Xerox has. We're very committed to keeping the workforce here and growing."

Last week, Xerox announced it would leave downtown, moving hundreds of employees to its Webster campus.

Another sign of a changing landscape - when companies like Bausch + Lomb, Kodak and Xerox were dominant.

"We are no longer a three-company town,” Duffy reiterated.

"That might be something my generation and generations to follow mine might not have any idea about,” Garver said. “It’s part of our culture and heritage."

Xerox said the two companies will continue to be separate and independent organizations until the close of the merger.

It's expected to happen later this year.

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