The Federal Trade Commission's Competition Director today applauded the federal district court opinion in the Staples and Office Depot case.
"Consumers have won today," said William J. Baer, the Competition Director. "And competition has been preserved."
Staples and Office Depot are two of the three largest office supply superstores in the country. According to the FTC, office supply superstores, unlike any other retail stores selling office supplies in the United States, offer consumers the convenience of one-stop shopping for a wide variety of office supplies, computers and computer related products, and office furniture at deep discount prices.
On March 10, the FTC authorized its staff to seek a federal district court order to prevent Staples from acquiring Office Depot. The FTC, through lead attorney George S. Cary, argued in court that the Staples/Office Depot merger would violate federal antitrust laws by substantially reducing competition in the retail sale of office supply superstores in various markets throughout the country where each firm directly competes against each other. The federal court decision paves the way for the Commission staff to issue an administrative complaint to permanently enjoin the merger. The FTC has 20 days within which to determine whether to issue the administrative complaint, which would challenge the merger on antitrust grounds and mark the beginning of the administrative trial process.
George S. Cary
Bureau of Competition