Judge Pushes For Settlement In Staples-FTC Battle Over Office Depot Merger

The battle over a proposed Staples-Office Depot merge — and whether such a merge would give Staple undue market dominance in the wild world of office supply — has raged on, become rather acrimonious and now finds itself sitting at the feet of a federal judge. A judge who apparently would really like it if the parties involved would get together and work it out.

For the last several months, the question to ponder has been whether allowing the merge to go through would create a dominance among the two company’s in the business contracts space. As recently as a month ago, Staples’ CEO was working on a Plan B should the FTC prevail.

But as of last week, Emmet Sullivan, the judge in the case, seemed to take issue with the FTC’s attempts to downplay Amazon’s importance as an emergent competitor in the space. Particularly, he was interested as to why the FTC was looking to push Amazon to self-describe its business efforts as “not ready for primetime.” Judge Sullivan also made that line of questioning open to the public by taking the apparently unusual step of unsealing the portion of the court records of the day that contained his questions on this issue.

“I encourage the parties to resolve this,” Judge Sullivan said Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.

Final arguments will begin on April 19.


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