Blackrock has increased their shares in ODP to 7.5%. They also have taken a big position in OMX, SP Richards and appear to be either bullish on the industry or attempting to push a merger. Hard to believe a merger of ODP and OMX would be successful. See SEC filing.
I think a merger would be good for both companies as long as they dumped the management team of Office Depot. It would get rid of stores that are separated by only a few blocks and concentrate the business more.
I have shopped at Office Depot for a great many years and any complaints I have ever had were taken care of promptly. I love the stores as well as the website.
That said: I have also shopped at OfficeMax throughout the years and can say the same thing about them.
I have been in a Staples a few times, but I like Max and Depot better. If they merge, I believe it would be better for Staples, as well as the merged companies. Competition is great, but if you have too much competition, things get a little dicey.
I feel that the biggest thing any of these companies can do to retain customers and attract new ones would be to get employees that actually know something about what they are selling. NONE of these stores have such employees now. That includes Best Buy, HHGreg, Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max. They make a big deal out of selling electronics, but none of their employees can answer anything more than a basic question about what they are selling.