Although an approval hasn’t come from the United States Federal Trade Commission, Staples recently said that it has received approval from the European Union to acquire Office Depot. However, the approval came with some significant conditions.
The European Commission approved the acquisition on the condition that Staples divest Office Depot’s European contract business and all of Office Depot’s operations in Sweden. Staples stated that it would meet the requirements. The parties have decided that they would also divest Office Depot’s retail, online and catalog operations in Europe in connection with closing the transaction. The divestiture of Office Depot’s European business is subject to the acquisition closing.
The merger continues to be the subject of litigation in the United States due to opposition from the FTC. Staples also is in litigation with the Canadian Competition Bureau. Staples and Office Depot recently announced that they had completed financing arrangements that would allow them to extend their merger agreement from February 4 to May 16.
“This is a significant step, and we’re very pleased that the European Commission has approved this transaction,” said Ron Sargent, chairman and CEO, Staples. “The acquisition has been approved in Australia, New Zealand, China and Europe. Regulatory agencies around the world understand that this acquisition will allow Staples to provide increased value and service to customers of all sizes. We look forward to a full, impartial judicial review in the United States.”