In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
The Staples/Essendant merger presents an unacceptable threat to competition; indications are that this merger is being carried out primarily for "private equity" purposes, wherein the company being purchased (in this case, Staples) would be loaded down with privately-owned debt that would cripple or kill the company, forcing it out of business. 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 recent "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. We've seen this happen recently to other companies, such as both Sears and Toys 'R' Us just this past year. With this in mind, the FTC needs to act to block this merger, and to protect another prominent American company from being destroyed for the sake of investors' greed. Thank you.