ACCC won't oppose proposed acquisition of OfficeMax by Platinum Equity

30 November 2017

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of OfficeMax Australia (OfficeMax) by Platinum Equity.

Platinum Equity owns Winc (formerly Staples Australia). Winc and OfficeMax both supply office products to commercial and government customers in Australia.

“Following extensive market inquiries and analysis of documents and data, the ACCC has decided not to oppose this transaction. The ACCC believes the transaction will lessen competition but doesn’t reach the threshold of causing a substantial lessening of competition,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Any deal that sees the largest supplier acquiring the second largest in a market will require very close scrutiny. However, in a finely balanced decision the ACCC found that a combined Winc-OfficeMax would continue to face competition from the remaining key suppliers, Complete Office Supplies (COS) and Lyreco.”

“Many large commercial and government customers put their contracts out to tender, and both COS and Lyreco have recently been successful in winning customers from Winc and OfficeMax. As a result, the ACCC considers that COS and Lyreco, combined with the ability of large customers to switch suppliers and to purchase products off-contract, are likely to provide a sufficient competitive constraint on the combined Winc-OfficeMax”.

“The ACCC would also expect that if prices and returns increased through an exercise of market power by a combined Winc-OfficeMax, it is likely that other existing suppliers of office products would seek to grow their market share,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC contacted many large commercial and government customers. While some were concerned about the transaction, there were also many that didn’t engage with the ACCC. Where we are considering a horizontal merger such as this, we rely heavily on the views of customers,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC review focussed on the supply of traditional office products to large commercial and government customers.

Further information is available on the ACCC’s public register: Platinum Equity - proposed acquisition of OfficeMax Australia.

Background

The ACCC review commenced on 15 May 2017. A Statement of Issues outlining competition concerns was published in August.

Platinum Equity is a global private equity firm specialising in mergers, acquisitions and operations of companies that provide mission-critical products, services and solutions. Platinum Equity acquired Staples Australia (now known as Winc) in early 2017. Winc (formerly Staples Australia) is a supplier of office products to commercial and government customers in Australia. 

OfficeMax is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Office Depot Inc. Office Depot Inc. is a North American focused stationery company headquartered in Florida, USA and listed on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.

The ACCC has previously announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of OfficeMax by Complete Office Supplies.

Release number: 
MR 225/17
ACCC Infocentre: 

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