In the Matter of Staples/Essendant, Inc., File No. 1810180
This is to urge the FTC to step in and block the proposed Staples/Essendant merger for its unacceptable threat to competition. Private equity related mergers should be given 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. Since the great recession, private equity funds have turned to acquisitions to increase their profits 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. 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. But it is not only employees but entire communities that experience long-term damage from a major store closure. In many cases private equity funds also try to eliminate the competition. In this case, the private equity fund that owns Staples wants to merge it with another office supply company. The result will be to kill off competition -- and eventually, kill off another successful retailer. It is unacceptable that people with more money than they know what to do with are allowed to play games with our economy. Give this and all such proposed mergers the highest scrutiny.