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Report: Staples Wins EU Okay for Corporate Express Takeover


Amsterdam Staples has won approval from the European Commission for its 1.7 billion euro ($2.6 billion) takeover bid for Dutch peer Corporate Express, according to a Reuters report.

Staples raised its all-cash offer to 9.25 euros per share from 9.15 euros last week, winning the backing of Corporate Express, which also ditched its own deal to buy a privately owned French competitor, Lyreco, the report said.

"The Commission's decision not to oppose the transaction constitutes the final regulatory clearance requirement for the offer," Staples said in a statement.

U.S. and Canadian regulatory authorities have already approved its Corporate Express bid.

For Staples, the deal expands its presence in the company-contracts business in Europe and North America, where it competes with Office Depot and OfficeMax as well as Corporate Express.

Staples' tender offer runs to June 27. Last week, it said it owns 13.4% of Corporate Express while holders of about 23.3% of the Dutch company have committed to accept its offer.

The offer will be declared unconditional if it gets 51% of Corporate Express shares, the report said.

The shareholders meeting convened on Wednesday to discuss Staples' offer.

Corporate Express rebuffed Staples' opening offer and sought a merger with French rival Lyreco, the report said.

Meysman said Corporate Express accepted the revised Staples offer as it could not get majority support for the Lyreco deal, according to the report.

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