Regulators Reportedly Poised To Block Staples, Office Depot Mega-Merger

Providing office supplies for commercial businesses could be the final nail in the coffin of the would-be formation of the $6.3 billion StaplesMaxDepot Voltron, with regulators reportedly poised to block the mega-merger next week. 

The New York Post, citing sources familiar with the matter, reports that regulators continue to have concerns that a union between the office supply chains would result in a single nationwide company serving corporate and government clients.

Staples and Office Depot are the largest and second-largest commercial office suppliers respectively, and are truly national distributors, unlike third-place finisher and perennial New York Yankees advertiser W.B. Mason.

The New York Post reports that, as it stands, the FTC’s four-person panel is split on its decision, with two members opposing the deal solely because of the combined company’s corporate supply business.

The Federal Trade Commission officially has until Dec. 8 to make their decision, but even that deadline is fluid. If they choose, the agency can extend its review in order to obtain more concessions from Staples.

To ease the concerns of regulators, Staples previously offered to sell its commercial supply business to competitor Essendant. That company, which used to be called United Stationers, is still a minor corporate supplier when compared to the betrothed retailers.

Additionally, both chains have closed stores in areas where their business overlaps. Office Depot plans to close 400 stores by the end of next year whether the merger goes through or not.

Regulators ready to block Staples-Office Depot merger [New York Post]