Staples’ $6.3 billion takeover of Office Depot could slide through the antitrust checkout line.
Crunching together the two largest U.S. office supply chains is a financial winner: the value of the synergies alone almost pays for the entire deal. And though trustbusters may squawk, even they acknowledge that, with internet and big box stores thriving, the competitive landscape has changed.
The companies say they expect annual cost savings of $1 billion by the third year after the stock-and-cash deal closes. That’s worth about $6 billion to shareholders today, assuming a 35 percent tax rate. It also makes the $11 per share price for Office Depot, a roughly 44 percent premium over the company’s Monday close, easy to swallow.
The trick will be getting regulators to sign off. Staples and Office Depot are, respectively, the No. 1 and No. 2 brick-and-mortar players in the office products retail space. And the Federal Trade Commission bounced a proposed deal between them in 1997.