Staples and Office Depot merger blocked by judge; companies call off the deal
Office Depot and Staples have abandoned merger plans as a result of a federal judge’s decision on Tuesday to block the deal.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of Washington, D.C., granted a preliminary injunction because of antitrust objections raised by the Federal Trade Commission, report the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), the New York Times and the National Law Journal.
Sullivan said he will publish a sealed opinion on Wednesday elaborating on the reasons for his decision. His three-page order (PDF) said the plaintiffs had shown a reasonable probability the merger would impair competition in the sale of office supplies to large business-to-business customers.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sullivan’s decision “likely will shine a spotlight on the two companies’ surprising and unusual courtroom strategy. After the FTC spent two weeks presenting its case to Judge Sullivan, Staples and Office Depot chose not to present a defense, arguing that the FTC’s case was woefully lacking and a defense was unnecessary.”