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Is There A Parallel Between The Staples-Office Depot Deal And Sysco-US Foods?


Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) shares closed down more than 3 percent on Wednesday and Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ: ODP) dipped about 1.6 percent following a New York Post report that a planned merger between the two companies could be under threat.

The Post's Josh Kosman posited morning that the $6.3 billion deal could be blocked after a federal judge denied food service distributor Sysco Corporation (NYSE: SYY)'s merger with US Foods.

The judge sided with the Federal Trade Commission's fears that the merger of the country's two only national players in the space would result in higher prices for schools, restaurants, and hospitals.

Kosman wrote that the marriage of the two largest -- and arguably only -- office supply companies could fall victim to a similar argument.

Not So Similar After All?

But University of Michigan Law School professor Dan Crane disagrees with Kosman's logic.

He said that merger cases are very fact-specific. Given that these are unrelated industries (one being retail and the other food services), "the preliminary injunction in Sysco-US Foods has [little] to do with the likelihood of approval in Staples-Office Depot."

"Apart from the obvious fact that the FTC blocking one big merger shows it has the willpower to block another, I don't see much in it for the office superstores merger," Crane told Benzinga.


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Posted-In: Office Depot Inc. Staples Inc. Sysco US FoodsRumors Legal Exclusives