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Report says FTC likely to approve OfficeMax-Office Depot merger

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the Federal Trade Commission is likely to approve the proposed merger between OfficeMax and Office Depot. The two office supply retailers agreed to a $1.2 billion all-stock merger in February. The report quotes anonymous sources as saying that the FTC doesn't view the merger as a threat to competition. The report also says the FTC is unlikely to require either company to make divestitures before completing the transaction.

Previous mergers in this market haven't been viewed as favorably by the FTC. Office Depot had previously attempted to merge with competitor Staples in 1997, but that deal was struck down by the FTC over antitrust concerns. Since that time, Staples has been the leader of the retail office supply market. OfficeMax and Office Depot have battled for second place.

OfficeMax is based in Naperville, Illinois, while Office Depot is based on Boca Raton, Florida. The companies have not named a CEO for the new company. They also have not announced where the new company will be located, what it will be called or what will happen to current OfficeMax and Office Depot locations.

Mergers and acquisitions can be complicated affairs for any size business. Mergers are complex even if the companies don't require FTC approval or don't have public shareholders. An attorney with business transaction experience could help a business enter in to merger or acquisition negotiations with a fully informed view of its opportunities and risks. The attorney could negotiate the transaction in the best interest of the business and protect it from any contractual obligations that could be harmful in the future.

Source: South Florida Business Journal, "How FTC is expected to treat Office Depot-OfficeMax merger", Shaun Bevan, October 21, 2013