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Staples eyes up Essendant Inc.

August 22, 2018

Having missed out on the acquisition of Office Depot, Staples has now set its sights on the purchase of Illinois office supplier Essendant.

According to the Boston Globe, the Director of Staples, Stefan Kaluzny, has this week “increased the pressure” on Essendant, and its CEO Richard Phillips, to strike a deal; Essendant already has another offer on the table, of a merger with S.P. Richards, a deal which was approved by Essendant’s shareholders in a vote last October.

Kaluzny claimed that a recent rise in Essendant’s stock price, up to nearly $15 (€12.93) a share from under $10 (€8.62) in April, is as a result of Staples’ investment in the company. In response to these claims, Essendant publicly sang the praises of the S.P. Richard merger, and reiterated that the vote by shareholders was still in effect. It did, however, acknowledge Staples’ willingness to begin confidential talks, but stipulated that as of yet, the office supply titan hadn’t presented a full and former offer to Essendant’s board.

Staples’ desire for expansion is the first major move since its proposed takeover of Office Depot was halted on antitrust grounds in 2016; the fallout from that decision saw Staples itself acquired, by Kaluzny’s private equity firm, Sycamore Partners, in a move which saw Sandy Douglas replace Ron Sargent as CEO.

The Boston Globe opines Essendant “represents a smaller prize than Office Depot,” on account of its annual revenue of $5 billion (€4.31 billion), and its workforce of 6,400 employees, yet says it would “still be a substantial one.”

“Staples’ pursuit show that the country’s largest office supplier is still hungry to get bigger,” it reports, asserting that the company is “on the hunt again.”

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