NERA Assists FTC in Office Depot-OfficeMax Merger Review

07 November 2013

New York -- NERA Economic Consulting, a leading global provider of economic advice and analysis in business, legal, and regulatory matters, assisted the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its review of the proposed merger between Office Depot, Inc. and OfficeMax, Inc.

NERA Academic Affiliate Dr. Michael Baye, Bert Elwert Professor of Business at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, and NERA Vice President Dr. Graeme Hunter helped the FTC evaluate the impact of the merger on the office supplies market. On 1 November 2013 the FTC unanimously decided to close its investigation and allow the merger to proceed.

In its statement, the FTC noted that the office supplies market has changed significantly since 1997, when the Commission blocked a proposed merger between Office Depot and Staples, Inc. It noted that "the Commission's investigation shows that today's market for the sale of consumable office supplies is broader, due mainly to two significant developments." The first is that "mass merchants like Wal-Mart and Target and club stores like Costco and Sam's Club have proliferated and expanded their product offerings and sales of office supplies … the other is the explosive growth of online commerce."

The Commission's statement concluded: "Analyzing the likely competitive effects of a proposed transaction is always a fact-specific exercise that must take into account the evolving nature of markets. Our decision highlights that yesterday's market dynamics may be very different from the market dynamics of today. In this case, significant developments in the market for consumable office supplies have led us to approve a merger when we had blocked a similar merger sixteen years ago."

About NERA

NERA Economic Consulting ( is a global firm of experts dedicated to applying economic, finance, and quantitative principles to complex business and legal challenges. For more than six decades, we have been creating strategies, studies, reports, expert testimony, and policy recommendations for government authorities and the world’s leading law firms and corporations. We bring academic rigor, objectivity, and real-world industry experience to issues arising from competition, regulation, public policy, strategy, finance, and litigation.

NERA’s clients value our ability to apply and communicate state-of-the-art approaches clearly and convincingly, our commitment to deliver unbiased findings, and our reputation for quality and independence. Our clients rely on the integrity and skills of our unparalleled team of economists and other experts backed by the resources and reliability of one of the world’s largest economic consultancies. Continuing our legacy as the first international economic consultancy, NERA serves clients from major cities across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.