In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
The FTC needs to step in and block the Staples/Essendant merger, as it presents an unacceptable threat to competition. Private equity funds, such as the one that closed Toys R Us, have had a devastating effect on retail stores in the US -- costing thousands of people their jobs and eliminating competition. Private equity related mergers deserve heightened scrutiny as private equity funds 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. Since the great recession, private equity funds have turned to acquisitions to increase profits but this routinely comes at the expense of a company's ability to compete, retain market share, or retain employees. Companies get loaded up with debt and are unable to survive. The FTC needs to stop the Staples/Essendant merger and generally scrutinize the anti-competitive practices of private equity when assessing private equity-driven mergers.