In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
The U.S. has strongly leaned into making monolithic corporate entities for far too long, all to the detriment of the average U.S. citizen, especially regarding job opportunities and economic security. 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 anti-competitive outcomes by reducing the number and scope of firms in a given market. After the great recession, private equity funds 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 load up with debt and are unable to survive. The main, if not only, people who benefit are those actually making the deal to merge. 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.