Staples Inc. has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $6.9 billion, in a deal expected to close by the end of the year pending approval by regulators and Staples shareholders.
Staples, which operates 1,240 stores in the U.S., has been struggling in the face of online competition: in the first quarter, sales were down 5 percent year-over-year to $4.1 billion. The company, headquartered in Framingham, Massachusetts, closed 48 stores in North America last year and in March announced plans to shutter another 70 this year.
Sycamore Partners Managing Director Stefan Kaluzny expressed “tremendous confidence” in Staples CEO Shira Goodman, and said his firm will look “to accelerate long-term profitability.”
“Staples’ board believes that this process has led to a transaction which is in the best interests of our stockholders, as well as Staples and its employees,” said Robert Sulentic, Staples’ chairman of the board.
New York City-based Sycamore Partners specializes in reviving retail companies; its assets include Talbots, Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic and Nine West. It acquired The Limited out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.
Staples’ attempt to acquire competing chain Office Depot for $6 billion last year was blocked by a federal judge over antitrust concerns.
Staples has 1,255 stores in the United States and 304 in Canada. The office supplies firm’s Fairfield County locations include Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Norwalk, Shelton and Stamford, while its Westchester presence includes stores in Elmsford, Larchmont, Port Chester, Scarsdale, White Plains and Yonkers.