Corporate Express Accepts Staples Offer

Amsterdam, Netherlands The Dutch office-supplies distributor Corporate Express NV accepted a sweetened buyout offer Wednesday of about $2.7 billion from U.S. office-supplies retailer Staples Inc.

Staples, which pursued the deal to broaden its reach in Europe, raised its offer four times, the last two after Corporate Express made a bid for Lyreco of France in a defensive maneuver. Corporate Express is calling off that deal.

The board of Corporate Express said it decided to endorse the Staples deal and recommend it to shareholders after the U.S. company raised its offer to 9.25 euros ($14.36) per share, up from the previous bid of 9.15 euros.

Including Corporate Express debt being assumed, Staples said the transaction is valued at about 3.1 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

Under the terms of the deal, Peter Ventress, CEO of Corporate Express, will become president, Staples International, a new position that will oversee Staples’ business outside of the United States and Canada, and will report to Ron Sargent. He will play a key part in managing the integration of the two companies going forward.

The offer closes on June 27. Staples said it expected the deal to close in July.

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