FINANCE

Lowe’s withdraws bid to buy Rona; remains committed to Canadian growth

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Morrisville, N.C. — Lowe’s Cos. Inc. said Monday it has withdrawn its bid to purchase Canadian home-improvement retailer Rona Inc.

The $1.86 billion unsolicited acquisition proposal had earlier been rejected by Quebec-based Rona, which said the offer was not the best deal for its shareholders. The proposal generated discord among Rona’s dealer companies, many of whom threatened to sever their ties with Rona should Lowe’s succeed in its acquisition attempt.

In a Monday statement, Lowe’s said: “It is unfortunate that the Rona board of directors did not recognize the important economic and commercial benefits of this proposal for its stakeholders and for Canada.”

Lowe’s also said that it remains committed to Canadian growth and will evaluate other options, including organic growth. The company currently operates 31 stores in Canada, compared to rival Home Depot’s 180 Canadian units.

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FINANCE

Activist investor reveals 13% stake in Office Depot

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Delray Beach, Fla. — Starboard Value disclosed on Monday that it has taken a 13.3% stake in Office Depot. According to a report by Reuters, the activist hedge fund now becomes the office supply retailer’s biggest shareholder.

In a letter to Office Depot CEO Neil Austrian, Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith called for lowering expenses to improve performance.

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OPERATIONS

Restoration Hardware rebrands as RH

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Corte Madera, Calif. — Restoration Hardware announced Monday it has rebranded the company as RH, in a move to better position itself as a multichannel operation.

According to RH creator Gary Friedman: "Today’s RH is a far cry from the hardware and nostalgic discovery item based business it once was. … The new branding positions us for the future and reflects our belief that we can curate a lifestyle beyond the four walls of the home."

The new branding, a collaboration between Marc Shillum, principal at Method, designer Robert Valentine and Friedman, will debut on the cover of the company’s fall 2012 catalogs and on its website.

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