Keith Loria / Commercial Property Executive – Staples, Inc. has agreed to acquire box-store rival Office Depot for $6.3 billion, with the combined companies expected to better compete with e-commerce and other office supply competitors in the market.
Combined, the two companies represent $39 billion in annual sales from more than 4,000 stores. Staples was already the largest office-supply superstore, while Office Depot merged with OfficeMax Inc. in February 2013, the second- and third-largest at the time, to consolidate and save on costs.
“This deal just goes to show you how ‘inflated’ the office supply category is. First Office Depot purchases Office Max, and even before they can reposition that acquisition they are sold to Staples,” Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Associates, told Commercial Property Executive. “That being said, Staples has always been the leader of the office supply category.”
Of course, the two companies tried a merge once before—back in 1997—but that deal was struck down by the FTC for being anticompetitive. Still, most analysts expect this transaction to go through.
“Closing conditions allow Staples an exit strategy should antitrust authorities require the divestiture of stores. Staples is focused on growth but may opt out and the deal may not transact,” Michael Lagazo, senior advisor, Retail, with commercial real estate advisor Sperry Van Ness, told CPE. “For Staples, it means benefits from cost savings, the ability to expand product offerings including growing their delivery business, and achieving monopolistic pricing power.”
Lagazo spoke with Kevin Reilly, Staples’ director of real estate in Costa Mesa, before the announcement and said it could take roughly nine months before any Staples or Office Depot stores hit the market for disposition.