Part III Administrative Complaint
The FTC issued an administrative complaint and authorized staff to seek a preliminary injunction to enjoin the transaction pending the results of the administrative proceeding, charging that Staples, Inc.’s proposed $6.3 billion acquisition of Office Depot, Inc. would significantly reduce competition nationwide in the market for “consumable” office supplies sold to large business customers for their own use. The complaint alleges that, in competing for contracts, both Staples and Office Depot can provide the low prices, nationwide distribution and combination of services and features that many large business customers require. The complaint further alleges that, by eliminating the competition between Staples and Office Depot, the transaction would lead to higher prices and reduced quality, and that entry or expansion into the market – by other office supplies vendors, manufacturers, wholesalers, or online retailers – would not be timely, likely, or sufficient to counteract the anticompetitive effects of the merger. On May 19, 2016, Staples and Office Depot abandoned their proposed merger after the district court granted the Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction. FTC dismissed the case from administrative trial process.