Xerox ready to go hostile

Xerox is ready to go hostile.

The printer and copier maker said Tuesday it was planning to take its $33.5 billion buyout bid directly to HP shareholders.

In a letter to HP's board, Xerox said, "We plan to engage directly with HP shareholders to solicit their support in urging the HP Board to do the right thing and pursue this compelling opportunity."

HP's refusal to open its books for due diligence before a Monday deadline triggered Xerox's latest response.

It all began when Xerox made a bid to buy its much larger rival on November 5. HP, which makes printers and printing supplies, rejected Xerox's $22 per share offer, saying it "significantly undervalues" HP and would saddle the combined company with what it termed "outsized debt."

Last week, Xerox threatened to take its bid hostile, if HP did not agree to a "friendly" discussion and open its books before Monday.

Shares of HP fell to $19.74 a share in early trading Monday. Xerox drifted lower.