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Staples-Office Depot Merger Blocked as Anticompetitive

A federal judge halted Staples Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Office Depot Inc., effectively ending a bid to unite the two biggest U.S. office suppliers into what the government argued would be an unchallenged giant.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington Tuesday blocked the $6.3 billion deal, a victory for the Federal Trade Commission, which argued that the combined national supplier of pens and printer paper would harm buyers.

The FTC met its “burden of showing that there is a reasonable probability that the proposed merger will substantially impair competition in the sale and distribution of consumable office supplies to large business-to-business customers,” Sullivan wrote in a three-page order issued late Tuesday.

Staples fell 10 percent in after hours trading before being halted, while Office Depot plunged 26 percent.

Sullivan’s ruling -- an injunction putting the deal...


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