The Morning Brief: Staples Sounds Off on FTC Decision

Staples fired off a press release Monday lamenting the fact that the Federal Trade Commission blew off the Framingham, Massachusetts company’s compromise proposal that would enable it to merge with office products rival Office Depot. Staples said it proposed divesting up to $1.25 billion of commercial contracts “in an effort to create an acceptable remedy to the FTC.” However, the anti-trust officials “rejected the company’s offer without making a counteroffer,” the company added, saying it is still willing to continue negotiations with the FTC “to reach a settlement that addresses FTC concerns.”

Two weeks ago, the FTC filed a lawsuit intended to block the merger between Boca Raton, Florida-based Office Depot and Staples. Shares of Staples fell slightly to $9.39, while Office Depot’s stock fell 1.5 percent, to $5.33.

We noted last week that Jeffrey Smith’s Starboard Value cut its stake in Office Depot to 5.5 percent. Los Angeles-based Canyon Capital Advisors was also among Office Depot’s top holders at the end of the third quarter.


Shares of Pep Boys surged nearly 7 percent, to $16.85, after the auto parts retailer determined that Carl Icahn’s latest takeover offer constitutes a “superior proposal” under its planned merger with Bridgestone Retail Operations. As a result, Pep Boys said it will terminate its deal with Bridgestone. Icahn Enterprises raised its offer to acquire the company for $16.50 per share in cash.



Centerbridge Credit Partners, the flagship fund of New York-based Centerbridge Partners, raised its stake in Civeo Corp. to nearly 6.4 million shares, or 5.9 percent of the provider of workforce accommodations, logistics and facility management services to the natural resource industry, according to a regulatory filing. Centerbridge Partners owned nearly 3.2 million shares of Civeo at the end of the third quarter. The investment in the one-time activist target was filed as passive. Shares of Civeo, a major victim of the collapse in oil prices and drilling activity, fell 2.74 percent to $1.74, and are now down about 70 percent from their May high.