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US: FTC approves Staples-Essendant merger

 |  January 29, 2019

The US Federal Trade Commission said it had approved with conditions the proposed $482.7 million merger of office supply distributors Staples Inc and Essendant, reported The Wall Street Journal

“Staples, which is owned by the private-equity firm Sycamore Partners, will establish a firewall separating Staples’ business-to-business sales operations from Essendant’s wholesale business,” the regulator said in a statement.

“This firewall will restrict Staples’ access to the commercially sensitive information of Essendant’s customers.”

The two companies have agreed to a settlement as part of the deal in order to resolve the FTC’s allegations that the deal may have harmed competition in the market for office supplies sold to SMBs. Specifically, Staples would have access to commercially sensitive business information on Essendant’s reseller customers, and those resellers’ end customers, which could potentially allow Staples to offer higher prices than it otherwise would when bidding against a reseller for an end customer’s business.

Full Content: Wall Street Journal

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