September 7, 2017

Staples shareholders approve $6.9-billion private sale

Flickr/Mike Mozart
Staples shareholders will go private at a time when it is shifting toward business-to-business sales.

Staples shareholders on Thursday approved a sale of the Framingham office supplier to Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm that owns several other retailers.

Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the deal by a margin of more than 24-to-1, according to the company's SEC filing.

The $6.9-billion deal will take Staples private at a time when it has struggled against the likes of Amazon and changing business and consumer buying habits. Staples lost $615 million last year, when it closed 48 stores. It said earlier this year it will close another 70 in 2017.

Staples attempted a merger with Office Depot, but a federal judge rejected the deal last year. Since then, the company has turned more toward business-to-business services.

Under Sycamore, Staples will be alongside other retailers including Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic, Nine West, Talbots and The Limited.

Staples previously said its board of directors unanimously approved the sale and recommended shareholders approve it. The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the Sycamore purchase is the largest leveraged buyout announced this year.

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