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In: Business and Management

Submitted By LaKeshiaT40
Words 7162
Pages 29
Proposed Merger Between Staples and Office Depot Leads to Concerns of Higher Prices

Michael Baye and Patrick Scholten prepared this case to serve as the basis for classroom discussion rather than to represent economic or legal fact. The case is a condensed and slightly modified version of the public copy of the FTC's motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against the proposed merger between Staples and Office Depot dated April 10, 1997. No 1:97CV00701.

OFFICE SUPPLY SUPERSTORE MARKET Staples and Office Depot pioneered the office superstore concept within months of each other in 1986. Over the next ten years, they and a number of other firms seized on the same strategy of providing a convenient, reliable and economical source of office supplies for small businesses and individuals with home offices. These firms competed aggressively, developing office superstores as a one-step destination, carrying a full line of consumable office supply items as well as assorted other products. Staples and Office Depot have been immensely successful: today, Staples has almost 500 stores and Office Depot has more than 500 stores nationwide; they compete head-to-head in 42 metropolitan areas across the country. On September 4, 1996, Staples and Office Depot entered into an agreement whereby Staples would acquire the stock and assets of Office Depot for $4 billion. The merged company would have combined annual sales that exceed $10 billion. Absent the merger, both companies planned to continue growing for the foreseeable future, and areas of head-to-head competition between the two firms would have increased significantly by the year 2000. Their success has redefined the retailing of office supplies in the United States, driving thousands of independent stationers out of business and eliminating by acquisition or bankruptcy some rivals who sought to...

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