OPERATIONS

Staples launches Staples Connect

BY Dan Berthiaume

Framingham, Mass. — Staples officially launches Staples Connect, an offering that lets customers’ home or office technology interact and be controlled by a single app. With the touch of a button, in-store and online Nov. 27, Staples Connect lets customers shut down their office, turning off lights, lowering shades and locking doors, while at the same time turning on their lights and heat at home.

Staples Connect consists of a multi-platform app and universal hub that allow a multitude of devices to talk to each other. The Staples Connect Hub, powered by Linksys, is available online and in a limited number of Staples stores for $99. Staples Connect uses a platform developed by Zonoff Inc., which features a free, single app. Installation will be available through Staples EasyConnect and can also be performed by customers.

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FINANCE

CVS purchases infusion services provider

BY Dan Berthiaume

Woonsocket, R.I. – CVS Caremark has entered into an agreement to acquire Coram LLC, the specialty infusion services and enteral nutrition business unit of Apria Healthcare Group Inc. for approximately $2.1 billion. Coram provides infusion therapies and nutrition services to more than 20,000 patients each month, primarily through home infusion as well as a national network of more than 85 locations, including more than 65 ambulatory infusion suites.

"Bringing together CVS Caremark’s unique range of specialty pharmacy services with Coram’s infusion capabilities will expand our competitive offerings in the specialty arena,” said Jon Roberts, president of CVS Caremark Pharmacy Services. “Infusion will be a valuable component of our broad specialty pharmacy offering going forward. Our comprehensive services will enable us to streamline care management for patients as well as their physicians, leading to better health outcomes while avoiding unnecessary costs.”

Barclays served as CVS’ financial advisor on the transaction, while Sullivan and Cromwell LLP served as legal advisor and Dechert LLP served as legal advisor from an anti-trust perspective.

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FINANCE

GNC authorizes share repurchase; increases term loan

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pittsburgh – The board of directors of GNC Holdings has authorized a multi-year program to repurchase up to an aggregate $500 million of the company’s Class A common stock. The authorization is effective immediately. The GNC may finance any repurchases with cash, potential financing transactions, or a combination of the foregoing.

All previous share repurchase authorizations have been completed. The company also increased its term loan to $1.35 billion. Under the new terms, the maturity date was extended by one year to March 2019 and repriced. In connection with this repricing, lenders will receive a 1% premium if the company consummates a "repricing transaction" within six months.

The continuation of our share repurchase program and evolution of our capital structure reaffirms our commitment to consistently return capital to shareholders, and reinforces our confidence in the fundamental strength and long-term prospects of the business," said Joe Fortunato, chairman, president and CEO of GNC.

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