June 19, 2015 / 12:35 PM / 4 years ago

Office Depot shareholders vote in favor of Staples offer

A general view of a telephones isle in an Office Depot store in Los Angeles, California May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

(Reuters) - Office Depot Inc (ODP.O) said its shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of the $6.3 billion buyout offer from larger rival Staples Inc SPLS.O, in a deal that would combine the two largest U.S. office suppliers.

Office Depot said 99.5 percent of the votes cast were in favor of the deal at a shareholder meeting on Friday.

The approval is yet another step in the creation of an office supply megastore, in the face of increasing competition from online rivals and big-box stores, that also sell core office supplies, such as paper and ink toner, at cheaper prices.

Staples said it would buy Office Depot in February in a cash-and-stock deal, following calls by activist investor Starboard Value L.P. for a merger, saying a combined company would lead to greater savings.

Under the deal, Office Depot shareholders will get $7.25 per share in cash and 0.2188 of a share in Staples stock for each Office Depot share held.

The merger is subject to antitrust regulatory approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Regulators prevented Staples’ fist attempt to buy Office Depot in 1997.

The FTC, however, approved Office Depot’s acquisition of OfficeMax in 2013 without the need to close stores, citing increased competition in the office supply industry.

China’s Ministry of Commerce and The Commerce Commission of New Zealand gave clearance to the proposed Staples-Office Depot acquisition this month.

Office Depot’s shares closed at $9.16 on Thursday, having risen 20.5 percent since news of the deal first emerged. Staples shares, which had fallen 3.7 percent in the same period, closed at $16.43 on Thursday.

Reporting by Nayan Das and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru

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