Staples, the No. 1 U.S. office supply retailer, said Wednesday it would buy Office Depot, its next largest rival, in a $6.3 billion deal that would create an office supply behemoth.
Staples said it would pay $7.25 per share in cash and 0.2188 of its shares for each Office Depot share. Shares of Office Depot jumped while Staples shares were slightly lower in pre-market trading following the announcement.
The deal, which is likely to face close scrutiny by antitrust regulators, is expected to close by the end of the year. Online retailers such as such as Amazon.com Inc and big-box chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc have eaten into the sales of office supply retailers.
Last month, activist investor Starboard Value LP called for the two companies to merge, saying a combined entity would lead to greater cost savings. Starboard, known for its aggressive shareholder activism, had a 5.1 percent stake in Staples as of December and boosted its holding in Office Depot to nearly 10 percent the same month. Staples said on Wednesday that it began talks to buy Office Depot in September.
-- NBC News Staff, CNBC and Reuters