Business and Industry

Merger of Office Depot, OfficeMax Approved

Antitrust regulators will allow it


Office Depot Inc.'s purchase of OfficeMax Inc. won approval from U.S. antitrust regulators, clearing the way for the office-supply companies to create a single retailer to compete with Staples Inc.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission voted to close its seven-month investigation into the merger, saying online retailing ensured competition in the market for office supplies, according to a statement today.

The agency said the market has changed significantly since 1997, when it derailed Staples's acquisition of Office Depot as anticompetitive. Consumers today rely on retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and online shopping for office supplies, the commission said.