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NZ seeks to block Platinum/OfficeMax deal

Thursday, 09 November 2017
By Graham Osborne

The New Zealand Commerce Commission has filed a High Court injunction to prevent US private equity giant Platinum Equity from acquiring OfficeMax NZ.

“The Commission considers that the acquisition would be likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in the supply of stationery to large corporate and government customers,” said a statement on the regulator’s website.

The proposed acquisition is part of Platinum’s larger plan to acquire the OfficeMax business in Australia and New Zealand from Office Depot.

The Commission has applied to consolidate its proceedings with those initiated by Complete Office Supplies (COS), which launched its own surprise bid for OfficeMax in July. COS is also seeking an injunction to have the OfficeMax and Staples merger blocked in New Zealand on competition grounds.

A date for the hearing has yet to be set but is unlikely to be this year.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has expressed similar concerns over the merger and is due to release the results of its informal review this month.

“The ACCC’s primary concern is that the loss of competition between Staples and OfficeMax could result in higher prices and lower levels of service,” said ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston.

Platinum this year acquired the Australian and New Zealand businesses of Staples [rebranded as Winc] and the proposed OfficeMax deal would give the California-based investment firm two of the three major chains in Australia’s $10 billion-a-year office supplies market.

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