Office superstores make it official

Office Depot and OfficeMax announced the completion of their merger late Tuesday and from the looks of third quarter results released the same day the deal should prove beneficial to both companies.

Office Depot said its third quarter same store sales declined 2%, while OfficeMax said its comps dropped 2.8% in the U.S. and 2.2% in Mexico.

The combined company will use the name Office Depot, Inc. and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ODP.

The new Office Depot, which would have had combined revenue for the 12 months ended Sept. 28, of approximately $17 billion, now employs about 66,000 people worldwide. The company serves consumers and businesses in 59 countries with more than 2,200 retail stores, e-commerce sites, and a dedicated business-to-business sales. The company’s portfolio of brands includes Office Depot, OfficeMax, OfficeMax Grand & Toy, Viking, Ativa, TUL, Foray and DiVOGA.

Customers can interact with each brand as they always have, including shopping at Office Depot and OfficeMax stores and online at and Each company will maintain its respective loyalty programs and expects to announce a combined loyalty program sometime in 2014.

According to the CEO selection committee, the uncertainty surrounding the timing and any potential conditions of the Federal Trade Commission approval made it challenging for the search to be finalized in time to coincide with the closing of the merger. The committee said it is hopeful of completing the process in the near future, now that unconditional FTC clearance has been obtained.

In the interim, as stated in the merger agreement, Neil Austrian, chairman and CEO of Office Depot, and Ravi Saligram, president and CEO of OfficeMax, will serve together as co-CEOs, executing the integration plans they and their teams have built to combine the two businesses.

The company will continue to operate in both Boca Raton, Fla., and Naperville, Ill., until the new CEO is on board and a decision on a headquarters location is finalized.

Office Depot also announced the members of its new board of directors. Aside from Saligram and Austrian, the 12-person board includes five independent directors from each of the Office Depot and OfficeMax boards. Additional directors are Warren Bryant, Rakesh Gangwal, Cynthia Jamison, Jim Marino, Michael Massey, Francesca Ruiz de Luzuriaga, Jeff Smith, David Szymanski, Nigel Travis and Joseph Vassalluzzo. Travis and Gangwal will serve as co-chairmen/co-lead directors.

Departing the Office Depot board are Kathleen Mason, who joined in 2006; Justin Bateman and Raymond Svider, who were appointed in 2009; Tom Colligan, who served since 2010; and Eugene Fife, who was elected in 2012.

“Each of these board members was instrumental in guiding the company through a period of difficult economic conditions as well as executing two of the company’s largest value creation opportunities — the sale of our stake in the Mexican joint venture and our historic merger with OfficeMax. On behalf of the company, I thank each of them for their leadership and wish them much success in their future endeavors,” said Austrian.



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