UPDATE 1-Mexico's Gigante does not rule out Office Depot purchase

Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:47pm EST

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MEXICO CITY Feb 18 (Reuters) - Mexico's Grupo Gigante on Monday did not rule out a possible acquisition of the 50 percent stake in the Mexican unit of U.S. office-supply store chain Office Depot that it does not already own following a report it was in talks to do so.

The Mexican retailer has been considering options related to its 50 percent holding in Office Depot's local unit since 2008, Grupo Gigante said. Last week U.S. news agency Bloomberg said it was in talks to buy the other half.

Gigante has held talks with various financial institutions "with a view to using credit lines for financial purposes to execute its business plan and that of its subsidiaries," the company said in a statement to Mexico's stock exchange.

The business plan does not exclude acquisitions, but it does also include organic growth, the statement said.

Separately, a portfolio manager at one of OfficeMax Inc's top shareholders, Neuberger Berman, said on Monday it would support that company's possible merger with Office Depot, depending on terms of the deal.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Monday that OfficeMax and Office Depot were in advanced talks to merge.

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