Staples rallies after analysts predict gains from rivals' merger

theflyonthewall.com

Staples (SPLS) is jumping after several research analysts predicted that the company would benefit significantly from a potential merger between its rivals, Office Depot (ODP) and OfficeMax (OMX). Following reports that Office Depot and OfficeMax had held talks about combining, Citigroup analyst Kate McShane predicted that the combined company would close some of its stores. Staples could gain market share as a result of these store closures, according to McShane. The analyst did, however, warn that that the Federal Trade Commission could "look unfavorably" on a merger between Office Depot and OfficeMax. Meanwhile, Jefferies analyst Daniel Binder believes that Staples is poised to benefit from an Office Depot-OfficeMax merger. But Binder warned that the potential benefit to Staples from a deal could vary widely, based on how many stores the combined entity would close and how many stores it would sell to Staples. The analyst, however, estimates that Staples' revenue could increase a total of $40M-$60M and its earnings per share could climb 5c-10c over the next three years as a result of the transaction. In mid-morning trading, Staples gained $1.90, or 15%, to $14.85, while Office Depot surged 16% to $5.30 and OfficeMax soared 25% to $13.50.

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