The FTC Has Called Off Its Administrative Trial Of Staples-Office Depot Merger

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart and frankieleon

Last week, Staples and Office Depot called off their proposed merger, which would have brought together the biggest and second-biggest office supply retailer into a single paperclip-selling Voltron. Instead, a federal judge granted a temporary injunction, and the companies called off the merger. Now the Federal Trade Commission is officially closing the case.

While both retailers sell approximately the same merchandise to both retail store customers and to some of the world’s largest companies, it was their corporate business that led the FTC to try to stop the merger.

“This outcome bodes well for business customers in the market for office supplies. FTC chair Edith Ramirez said in a statement. “These customers will continue to reap the benefits of the direct competition between Staples and Office Depot, which would have been eliminated if the top two suppliers had been allowed to merge”.

When the FTC sought an injunction in federal court to stop the merger, the judge also didn’t buy the companies’ argument that they were preparing to fight off a threat from Amazon to their dominance of the supply market. While much of the evidence presented about Amazon’s business during the hearing was sealed because the Everything Store didn’t want detailed information reaching the public, the judge reviewed it and said that he didn’t believe that there were any viable national competitors to Staples and Office Depot –– even the company that they offered to sell some business to, the growing cimoany Essendant.

After Staples and Office Depot Abandon Proposed Merger FTC Dismisses Case from Administrative Trial Process [FTC]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.