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Australia: ACCC concerned over Staples and OfficeMax merger

 |  August 27, 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has delivered a preliminary view that raises doubts over the proposed merger by Platinum Equity of office supplies resellers Staples and OfficeMax in Australia.

Platinum acquired Staples Australia earlier this year and has agreed with Office Depot in the US to acquire Depot-owned OfficeMax in Australia subject to regulatory approval.

In a Statement of Issues document dated 24 August 2017, the ACCC stated: “The ACCC’s preliminary view is that the proposed acquisition may substantially lessen competition in the supply of traditional office products to large commercial and government customers in Australia.”

“The ACCC’s primary concern is that the loss of competition between Staples and OfficeMax could result in higher prices and lower levels of service,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston elaborated in a press release.

“We are considering the extent to which other competitors will have the ability to compete with a combined Staples/OfficeMax for large customers after the acquisition,” he continued.

The ACCC approved a merger of Staples and OfficeMax in 2015 as part of the antitrust investigations that took place when Staples Inc attempted to acquire Office Depot in 2015/2016, but is taking a much closer look at the deal this time round.

Full Content: ACCC

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