The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint on 12/7/15 in an effort to halt staples, Inc.’s $6.3 billion acquisition of Boca Raton based Office Depot. Click here to see the press release. The FTC claims that the merger violates anti-trust laws by reducing the competition for office supplies. That of course would increase the cost of office supplies for businesses.
This actually seems like a no-brainer, because we all now that healthy competition is always good for businesses that rely on those products. Furthermore, Staples and Office Depot are clearly the office supply market leaders by a tremendous margin. By eliminating the Office Depot option for businesses, Staples theoretically could and most likely will increase prices to their business customers.
Please note that this is more of a business-to-business problem rather than a retail consumer problem. Businesses do not have the variety of options for office supplies that we as consumers have. Consumers can get office supplies from Target or WalMart, but businesses contract with either Staples or Office Depot not only for office supplies but also a wide array of business services.
The FTC is hoping to obtain a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop the progression of the merger until the administrative trial begins on 5/10/16. Maybe Office Depot will continue to occupy their huge real estate spot in Boca Raton after all. This is certainly hopeful news to the Office Depot employees who are unsure about their future with the company.