VKNG is still the major mail order force in Europe (associates in the UK tell me that SPLS's Quill launch over there was pretty uninspiring in terms of customer service) and ODP is still strong internationally. Whilst it would have perhaps been encouraging to see ODP take a position in Germany and leverage VKNG's dominance there, SPLS and ODP still do not compete at a retail level in any of these 3 markets (Germany, Holland and Portugal).
It's a big (bad) world and if ODP continues to steer clear of SPLS (on a pure retail level) internationally, the short term effect to ODP is negligible. The way I see it at the moment, SPLS has established a great base in Europe... but their UK experiences have been costly and Germany has been challenging. It's worth remembering that over there the retail landscape is very different to the USA, and even more different to Germany. I would be interested to see what the analysts (DLJ excepted) make of the news given that office superstores + Europe haven't yet equalled profit. And also given that these stores have been sold once already in the last year (by Metro to a Deutsche Bank led group of investors). Hot potato or good business by the Germans?
Long term however, one must question how long ODP can ignore Europe's 2 largest office supplies markets (Germany and UK) from a retail perspective. If I were Mr Fuente, I would be going all out to acquire a similar competition-free established international presence. The Coles Myer owned Officeworks chain in Australia springs to mind. Market dominant, well-established, similar culture and language, and another VKNG stronghold.
But what do I know - almost every stock I own has tanked recently!