ACCC approves OfficeMax acquisition

Watchdog gives green light to proposed acquisition of OfficeMax Australia (OfficeMax) by Complete Office Supplies (COS).

The ACCC has given the green light to the proposed acquisition of OfficeMax Australia (OfficeMax) by Complete Office Supplies (COS).

Staples and OfficeMax are the two leading suppliers to large commercial and government customers in Australia, with both offering a range of cleaning and janitorial supplies.

The ACCC flagged initial concerns about the takeover earlier this year in August. ACCC Commissioner, Roger Featherston said at the time the watchdog’s primary concern is that the loss of competition between Staples and OfficeMax could result in higher prices and lower levels of service.

The ACCC focussed on the supply of traditional office products, particularly stationery, to large commercial and government customers.

“The ACCC found that a combined COS-OfficeMax would continue to face competition from Winc (formerly Staples), and to a lesser extent from Lyreco. Post-acquisition, Winc will remain the market leader by some margin,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“Few customers expressed concerns about the proposed acquisition and some suggested that an enlarged COS may be able to compete better with Winc.”

The ACCC is also reviewing Platinum Equity’s proposal to acquire OfficeMax in Australia. Platinum Equity owns Winc. The ACCC released a Statement of Issues in relation to that proposal in August, and the review is continuing.

“If there are competing proposals to buy a company, the ACCC reviews the proposals independently of each other. A decision on Platinum Equity’s bid for OfficeMax is currently due in late November,” Sims said.

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