In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
The FTC needs to step in and block this Staples/Essendant merger, as it presents an unacceptable threat to 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 anticompetitive 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 anticompetitive practices of private equity when assessing private-equity-driven mergers.