UPDATE: Last-Chance Office Supply Merger Announcement Withdrawn (ODP, OMX, SPLS)

Office Depot storeUPDATE: According to a report at The New York Times Dealbook blog, the announcement of a merger between Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP) and OfficeMax Inc. (NYSE: OMX) was released prematurely and has been withdrawn.

A press release was posted briefly at the Office Depot website, but it has since disappeared. Dealbook cites sources who said the announcement that was incorrectly released was a draft. But assuming that the broad strokes are reasonably settled, this is what the deal looks like.

Office Depot is going to print up a nice new batch of shares in the ratio of 2.69 of the newly issued stock for every share of OfficeMax stock. That works out to about $1.2 billion, or $13.50 a share, a premium to last night's closing price on OfficeMax stock of 3.8%.

Office Depot has 1,675 stores worldwide; OfficeMax has about 900 stores in the United States and Mexico. Even combined, the resulting market cap will not equal a third of competitor Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS). And Staples has problems of its own.

Investors should see this as a last-ditch effort to survive. But survive for what? To die at a later date? Sales are stagnant or falling at all the big-box office supply stores. Closing stores, which is what the newly merged company will have to do, will not result in more revenue, but less. How does this make sense?

Even after the withdrawal of the announcement, shares of Office Depot are up 7.2% in premarket trading this morning, at $5.36 in a 52-week range of $1.51 to $6.10. OfficeMax shares are up 6.8%, at $13.88 in a 52-week range of $4.10 to $14.08.

Is anyone really expecting a bidding war? In the immortal words of John McEnroe, "Are you serious?"


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Mergers & Acquisitions, Retail, Services Tagged: ODP, OMX, SPLS

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