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US office supplies retailers say merger will keep them competitive

New York

IN planning a US$6.3 billion merger, Staples and Office Depot are betting that 18 years was long enough for government regulators to change their minds about how consumers buy office supplies.

The deal, announced on Wednesday, is expected to be closely evaluated by antitrust authorities, given that it will shrink the world of office supplies retail specialists to a single chain. A previous attempt to unite the two in 1997 was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

But the two retailers will argue that since then, the business of selling office supplies has become significantly more competitive. Customers can choose from a variety of sources, including giants such as Walmart, Target...

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