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Court blocks Staples-Office Depot merger

A federal judge blocked a planned merger between the office supply behemoths that was challenged by the Federal Trade Commission, saying the FTC showed “a reasonable probability that the proposed merger will substantially impair competition in the sale and distribution of consumable office supplies to large business-to-business customers,” Bloomberg reports.

Technically, the ruling only puts the merger on hold while the FTC continues legal proceedings to block it permanently, but the two office supply chains have previously said they wouldn’t continue the fight if the FTC won this initial injunction. Shares of Staples’s stock fell about 10 percent in after hours trading, and Office Depot’s fell about 26 percent, after the ruling was announced.SM