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US: Office Depot-Staples merger raises antitrust issues and negative remarks from President Obama

 |  February 12, 2015

President Barack Obama’s criticism on Monday of Staples employee health-care practices comes at a tricky time for the office-supply giant, which needs government approval for its $6.3 billion acquisition of rival Office Depot.

Mr. Obama singled out Staples after online media outlet BuzzFeed reported. “I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably and give them some basic financial security.” Mr. Obama said.

Whether the merger is completed depends in part on the FTC and other government regulators. Some say the proposed merger will be a test case, revealing how the commission views its role in protecting consumers’ interests in the shifting landscape of competition between brick-and-mortar and online retail.

Staples and Office Depot argue that its $6.3 billion deal to create one giant office-supply company can “compete against a large and diverse set of competitors.”

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal


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