In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
I urge the FTC to block the Staples/Essendant merger, as it presents an unacceptable threat to competition in a business space where competition has already been shrinking. Private equity related mergers deserve heightened scrutiny as private equity funds often remove companies from the markets in which they were situated at the 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. After 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. 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, and it took a mass public mobilization to get them severance. 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. Thank you for giving my comment your consideration.