It's Official: OfficeMax and Office Depot to merge

New York -- OfficeMax Inc. and Office Depot have formally announced an agreement under which the two companies would combine in an all-stock merger that would transform the office supply sector of retail. The merger, which creates a single company with nearly $18 billion in revenue, was unanimously approved by the board of directors of both chains.

According to the press release, holders of OfficeMax shares will receive 2.69 shares of Office Depot for every OfficeMax share they own. That is equal to about $13.50 per share, giving the deal a total value of about $1.2 billion.

The management team of the combined company is expected to draw upon leaders from both chains. The combined company’s name, marketing brands and corporate headquarters location are expected to be determined following the appointment of the CEO for the combined company.

“In the past decade, with the growth of the Internet, our industry has changed dramatically. Combining our two companies will enhance our ability to serve customers around the world, offer new opportunities for our employees, make us a more attractive partner to our vendors, and increase stockholder value,” said Neil Austrian, chairman and CEO of Office Depot.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2013, subject to stockholder approval from both companies, the receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Some analysts, however, have said that Federal Trade Commission might not look favorably on the merger. In 1997, a lawsuit by the FTC prevented Staples from acquiring Office Depot.

“We think there is a fair amount of risk that the FTC would not look favorably on a potential merger of the number two and number three players in the office product space," said Citi Investment Research analyst Kate McShane in an Associated Press report.