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Commerce Commission files injunction to stop Platinum Equity buying OfficeMax

Thursday 2nd November 2017

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The Commerce Commission has sought a High Court injunction to prevent US private equity firm Platinum Equity from acquiring OfficeMax Holdings.

The transaction is part of a larger deal announced by Platinum Equity in April to acquire the OfficeMax business in Australia and New Zealand from Nasdaq-listed Office Depot, subject to regulatory approvals. At the time it said the deal was expected to close in several months.

In a statement today, the commission said the acquisition "would be likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of stationery to large corporate and government customers." It wants to consolidate the proceedings with those initiated by Complete Office Supplies, it said.

The regulator said it gave approval to a similar deal in 2015, approving a merger between the New Zealand businesses of Staples - now owned by Platinum and called Winc NZ - and OfficeMax, as part of a wider global merger. That acquisition didn't take place within the statutory 12-month timeframe and the clearance lapsed, it said. Platinum didn't apply for clearance for its 2017 proposed acquisition of OfficeMax.

The commission said it wouldn't make further comment while the case is before the High Court.


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