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Staples Seeks to Buy Office Depot, Again

The owner of Staples made an unsolicited offer to take over Office Depot in a deal worth more than $2 billion, looking to unite the rival office-supply superstores whose previous marriage attempts have been thwarted by competition concerns.

It marks the third time that Staples has tried to acquire its main bricks-and-mortar rival. Previous efforts, including a deal worth $6.3 billion five years ago, were blocked by antitrust enforcers. The latest offer was made public Monday by Staples.

The ODP Corp. , Office Depot ’s parent company, said its board of directors is reviewing the proposal and will consider potential antitrust and regulatory challenges.

The retail landscape has changed since the companies’ last attempt to merge, with Amazon.com Inc. expanding deeper into office supplies and the Covid-19 pandemic leaving many people working or learning from home. Both Office Depot and Staples have large e-commerce operations, but Office Depot’s revenue has suffered as many corporate offices have been closed. Closely held Staples doesn’t disclose its financial results.

After the last failed deal, Staples was taken private by Sycamore Partners, a hedge fund that has scooped up battered retail chains, in a leveraged buyout in 2017. The company, now controlled by a Sycamore subsidiary called USR Parent Inc., said Monday it is proposing to buy ODP for $40 a share in cash.

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