Office Depot’s Deal for OfficeMax Said to Have Been Announced Prematurely

Office Depot
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A merger between Office Depot and OfficeMax has been years in the making — but it appears the deal may have been announced too hastily.

A press release announcing the merger of the two office supply retailers briefly surfaced Wednesday on Office Depot's Web site. Since then, the announcement has disappeared.

The deal negotiations are ongoing, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. As of Wednesday morning, the company's bankers and lawyers were still attempting to finalize an agreement.

Several news organizations quickly reported the terms disclosed in the apparently errant press release for Office Depot's earnings. Buried on page four of the release under the header "Other Matters," the company outlined details of the supposed merger.

The release noted that Office Depot would issue 2.69 new shares of common stock for each share of OfficeMax. That would value OfficeMax at $13.50, or roughly $1.19 billion, a more than 25 percent premium to the company's closing price last week.

The two people said that the press release — that was published and then taken down — was a draft. The described terms were not final, they added.

As the details filtered through the market, shares of the companies jumped. In pre-market trading, Office Depot's stock rose more than 7 percent. OfficeMax was up more than 8 percent.

Representatives for Office Depot and OfficeMax were not immediately available for comment.

Written by Michael J. De La Merced for The New York Times