Report: Staples In Advanced Talks To Be Privately Acquired

Reuters reports that private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced talks to acquire Staples in a deal that could top $6 billion.

Id 32166 Staples Hobart Australia

Reuters reported Wednesday that Staples is in advanced talks to be acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, following an auction for the office supplies retailer.

The report says Sycamore is currently finalizing a debt financing package for its Stapled bid and after it beat out fellow private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, citing three unnamed sources.

The deal could reportedly top $6 billion and be announced as early as next week, though there is still a chance the talks could dissolve.

Reuters said the deal "would represent a bet by Sycamore that Staples could more quickly shift its business model from serving consumers to catering to companies if it were to go private."

The acquisition would be one year after a federal judge backed the Federal Trade Commision's blockage of Staples' proposed $6.5 billion purchase of Office Depot on grounds that it would "substantially impair competition" in the sale of B2B office products. 

With 1,255 stores in the U.S. and 304 in Canada, Staples has the largest share of the U.S. office supply store market at 48 percent. The company ranks at 140 on the 2017 Fortune 500 with $20.22 billion in 2016 sales.

In December 2016, Staples announced the sale of its European business to Cerberus, and three months later announced the sale of its Australia and New Zealand business to Platinum Equity.

In early may, Staples announced a rebranding effort that seeks to target customers beyond its traditional retail operations. Its new slogan, "It's Pro Time," addresses small and mid-sized businesses as well as enterprise customers to enhance the company's B2B image.

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