Office supply giant Staples agreed to be taken private for an estimated $6.9 billion, a deal that may give the company some time to rethink a business model more in line with the rise of ecommerce.
In announcing the deal, both parties stressed longer term opportunities. Stefan Kaluzny, Managing Director of Sycamore Partners, the private equity firm acquiring Staples, said, “We… are excited about this opportunity to partner with them to accelerate long-term profitability.”
And Staples CEO Shira Goodman referred to the companies' shared “long-term vision.”
The deal price, significantly less than half of Staples' annual revenue, reflects the challenges faced by Staples. Sales of office and school supplies have been relatively flat for several years, according to data from The NPD Group. In 2016, overall sales inched up 1% to $12.1 billion. Essentially all of that growth came from online sales, which rose 12% last year.
Staples’ ecommerce sales have not kept the same pace. Ecommerce was flat in 2016 after edging lower in 2015.