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Staples, Office Depot in talks to transfer corporate contracts: WSJ

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

(Reuters) - Staples Inc SPLS.O and Office Depot Inc ODP.O, which have agreed to merge, are in talks with wholesaler Essendant Inc ESND.O to transfer about $600 million of corporate contracts to satisfy U.S antitrust concerns, the Wall street Journal said.

The terms of the divestiture proposal could change during talks with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) officials, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. (on.wsj.com/1NQJcWf)

It isn’t clear whether the concessions will satisfy the FTC, the newspaper said.

Staples’ $6.3 billion offer for Office Depot has come under FTC’s scrutiny as it involves the top two companies in the industry.

The FTC will decide on the deal by Dec. 8, Office Depot had said in its earnings statement earlier this month.

In September, EU antitrust regulators also opened an extensive investigation into the deal, fearing possible price hikes.

Office Depot has said the closing of the deal could be delayed until early 2016.

A Staples spokesman declined to comment.

Office Depot and Essendant were not immediately available to comment.

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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