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Staples And Office Depot Call Off Merger After Judge's Ruling

A federal judge blocked the merger of Staples and Home Depot, saying Tuesday that the government had made the case that the merger had a "reasonable probability" of hurting competition in office supplies.

Staples and Office Depot are calling off their $6.3 billion merger. The decision follows a ruling from a federal judge who said the deal would hurt competition in the office supplies industry.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a temporary injunction against the merger, saying that federal regulators had presented a strong case that the deal would substantially impair competition in the office supplies market.

"The Federal Trade Commission, which had asked for the injunction called the ruling great news," Jim reports. "And it said the merger would have led to higher prices and lower quality service for large companies."

In a statement, Staples CEO Ron Sargent expressed his disappointment. He also said: "We believe that it is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers, and associates to forego appealing this decision, terminate the merger agreement, and move on with our strategic plan to drive shareholder value."

The FTC initially filed an administrative complaint in December. As the Two-Way reported at the time, it charged that "the merger between Massachusetts-based Staples, the world's largest seller of office supplies, and Florida-based Office Depot would violate antitrust laws."

Staples announced its plan to buy office Depot in February last year.

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