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Staples and Office Depot respond as court date announced

Staples and Office Depot respond as court date announced

December 11, 2015

The two companies called the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) decision to block their merger “flawed”, with a court case likely in March 2016.staples

The antitrust enforcers filed a lawsuit on 8 December to block Staple’s acquisition of its rival, alleging it would eliminate the competition, and the legal case by the FTC claims the transaction would lead to higher prices and fewer options for big companies buying bulk office supplies. The European Commission is also investigating the deal, and has set the deadline of 16 March for a decision, while it has already been approved in Australia, New Zealand and China.

The two companies published a letter in response to the decision, stating that the decision “will hurt customers of both companies and jeopardise our ability to compete in a rapidly-evolving marketplace”, and adding that they both “plan to fight to complete this transaction”. Both also noted that the merger would be an “unparalleled opportunity to better serve customers”, and “generate significant savings from synergies”.

While stating their belief in a “robust and competitive marketplace”, both companies believe the FTC’s decision is “based on a flawed analysis and misunderstanding” of the market, and “underestimates” new competitors online and “vigorous existing and expanding competition” offline and in the retail marketplace. The companies also highlighted that the FTC has contradicted a office depotprior ruling in the Office Depot-OfficeMax merger, where it mentioned “strong competition” in approving the deal.

Wall Street Journal reported in turn that the FTC case is likely to begin in mid-to-late March 2016, adding that the FTC is also asking US District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to “issue a preliminary injunction to block the transaction”, before holding a trial in its in-house administrative court.

Staples’ lawyers argued against the proposal of such a hearing, and asked for two weeks of legal proceedings to “consider more evidence and testimony”, adding that “this is going to be our only shot”. Judge Sullivan concluded by ordering both companies and the FTC to appear again on 17 December, where a “formal court schedule” may be announced.

Categories : City News

Tags : Business Office Depot Staples

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