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ACCC delays COS/OfficeMax decision

Thursday, 21 September 2017
By Print 21 Online Article

Dominique Lyone, COS founder and CEO.

The corporate regulator has requested more information from Complete Office Supplies (COS) on its bid for OfficeMax and has again pushed back the date for its ruling.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says the former proposed decision date of 14 September 2017 has been “suspended to allow Complete Office Supplies to provide further information.”

Australian-owned COS lodged a surprise takeover bid in July for OfficeMax in Australia and New Zealand – the same business that has been targeted by US private equity giant, Platinum Equity. The ACCC is conducting a separate review of the Platinum bid and has nominated 16 November as the proposed date for a decision.

Platinum acquired the Staples ANZ businesses in March and recently rebranded the company as Winc. The acquisition of OfficeMax would give the California-based investment firm two of the three major chains in Australia’s $10 billion-a-year office supplies market.

In July, the ACCC delayed its decision on the Platinum deal and requested further information as it grapples with the competing bids.

In an earlier request to interested parties regarding the COS bid, the ACCC said its investigation was focused on the impact on competition.

In particular, we are seeking your views on:

  • Whether COS and OfficeMax compete closely with each other in terms of product range, pricing, types and size of customers, and geographic areas of supply
  • The extent of competition from other office products suppliers such as Lyreco, Officeworks and Staples
  • Whether the price of office products will increase, or service levels decrease, as a result of the proposed acquisition
  • How easy it would be for existing competitors to expand and/or new competitors to enter the market and constrain pricing and service levels provided by the merged COS/OfficeMax.

The regulator has yet to nominate a proposed date for its decision on the COS bid.

Sydney-based COS is Australia’s largest family owned office supplies company and has been in operation for over 40 years, employing over 350 Australians. From its nine distribution centres, COS delivers over 5000 orders to 3000 locations around Australia daily.


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