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Staples Gets More Activist Pressure On Board Membership

Staples Gets More Activist Pressure On Board Membership
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Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS)'s activist shareholder Starboard Value pushed Wednesday for changes to the company's board in a letter lauding its planned $6.3 billion acquisition of Office Depot Inc. (NASDAQ: ODP).

Staples changed hands recently at $16.67, down $0.14.

Starboard's letter didn't threaten a proxy battle and comes following a regulatory deadline for nominating board members for election at Staple's June annual meeting.

Starboard Value, headed by Jeffrey Smith, holds a 4.5 percent stake in Staples and had advocated a merger with Office Depot in January.

Starboard said Wednesday it would be "beneficial to improve the composition of the board" to help ensure the merger with Office Depot and its integration.

The letter also noted a meeting with Staples management held earlier this week and said the company's estimated synergies resulting form the proposed merger are too low.

Starboard, a $3 billion hedge fund that last year successfully campaigned to replace the board of Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), estimated the value of Staples following a merger with Office Depot at between $32 and $37 a share.

The deal is under antitrust review by the Federal Trade Commission although analysts have said approval is likely.

Posted-In: Starboard ValueNews M&A Best of Benzinga


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