In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
Private equity funds allow the wealthy to pool their money to buy out profitable companies, like Staples. The private equity fund then loads up the company with debt while slashing wages, benefits, and jobs, all to make more money for the wealthy investors. And this is done at cost to the workers who have made that company profitable, through their dedication to their jobs. Private equity related mergers deserve heightened scrutiny as they often remove companies from the markets in which they were situated at time of acquisition, or drastically reduce the scale of their operations, leading to anti-competitive outcomes by reducing the number and scope of firms in a given market. Private equity funds have had a devastating effect on retail across America. When one such fund closed Toys R Us last year, 31,000 people immediately lost their jobs. It took a mass public mobilization to get them severance. But that doesn't stop the long-term damage to communities of a major store closure. Staples has already been closing stores and cutting jobs. If this merger goes through, matters will get much worse. The FTC needs to step in and block this Staples/Essendant merger, as it presents an unacceptable threat to competition.