News Column

Office Depot and OfficeMax Agree to Merge

Feb 20, 2013

Marcia Heroux Pounds

Office Depot

Boca Raton-Office Depot Inc. has reached a $1.2 billion deal to buy competitor OfficeMax Inc., based in Naperville, Ill., in an all-stock transaction, the companies said Wednesday.

The merger will create an $18 billion global office supply company. The marriage is aimed at making the new company more competitive with Staples, the nation's largest office supply company.

The headquarters location of the combined company -- either Boca Raton or suburban Chicago -- hangs on which CEO is chosen to lead the company, Office Depot's Neil Austrian or OfficeMax's Ravi Saligram, according to transaction details.

"In the past decade, with the growth of the internet, our industry has changed dramatically. Combining our two companies will enhance our ability to serve customers around the world, offer new opportunities for our employees, make us a more attractive partner to our vendors, and increase stockholder value," said Neil Austrian, chief executive officer of Office Depot.

Saligram said the merger will help build a stronger e-commerce business and "to compete more effectively."

Office Depot will issue 2.69 new shares of common stock for each outstanding common share of OfficeMax.

That's equal to $13.50 a share, based on yesterday's closing price, a premium of about 26 percent to Feb. 15 before reports the companies were in talks to combine, according to Bloomberg news.

The new company will have equal number of Office Depot and OfficeMax board, according to the reports.

Early Wednesday, Office Depot had put up a press release and then quickly took it down.

Office Depot has its headquarters and 3,500 employees in South Florida.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2013 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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