Office Depot, Staples One Step Closer To Walking Down The Office Supply-Wedding Aisle

Back in February Staples presented Office Depot with a freshly sharpened bouquet of pencils (really, $6.3 billion) as a token of its desire to live as one for the rest of their office supply days. Now, three months later, Office Depot has accepted the proposal.

The Associated Press reports that Office Depot shareholders “overwhelmingly” voted in favor of the $6.3 billion acquisition proposition from Staples.

The company said that 99.5% of the votes cast during a recent meeting were in favor of combining the No. 1 and No. 2 office supply chains.

Staples and Office Depot began “advanced talks” for a merger in early February after receiving significant pressure from shared investor Starboard Value in December.

Starboard Value, the company that roundly mocked Olive Garden and then seized seats on its board of directors just months ago, publicly pushed for a union between the two chains saying a merger would deliver more than $2 billion in cost savings and help the retailers to better compete with larger chains and online companies.

The investment firm, which has a stake in both companies, increased the pressure for a merger by sending a letter to Staples CEO Ronald Sargent demanding that the company engage advisers to begin work on a deal.

While a combined Staples, Office Depot retailer could help the companies fend off competition from online retailers and big-box stores, any pending marriage would face serious antitrust scrutiny.

That added probe by regulators would likely center on the fact that Staples and Office Depot are the biggest remaining retailers of core office supplies.

Office Depot previously purchased the other top office supply store, Office Max, in 2013 for $967 million. That deal was given the go-ahead after regulators deemed there was plenty of competition in the office supply industry.

This wouldn’t be the first go-around for a union between the two retailers, 17 years ago regulators objected to Staple’s attempt to buy Office Depot.

Office Depot shareholders approve sale to Staples [The Associated Press]

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