Staples, Office Depot soar on hopes merger may go ahead

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — Shares of Staples and Office Depot have soared after a federal judge accused the government of trying to bend a witness's testimony in its case against a merger of the last two major U.S. office-supply chains.

Office Depot Inc. shares rose 9 percent Thursday as investors grew hopeful that the proposed $6.3 billion merger will be allowed over the government's objections. Staples Inc. shares jumped 7 percent.

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking to block the merger, contending it would dampen competition and allow the new combined company to dictate the price of supplies. The regulators in December rejected Staples' offer to sell $1.25 billion in contracts to work around the competition issues.

Staples is the largest "big box" office-supply chain. Office Depot is its second-ranked rival.