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Staples to own 12.3% of Corporate Express shares


FRAMINGHAM, Mass. Staples announced it entered into agreements to purchase a total of 22,435,115 ordinary shares in Corporate Express, representing 12.3% of Corporate Express' outstanding ordinary share capital, at a price of EUR 9.15 per share.

As a result of the transactions referred to above, the total number of ordinary shares in the capital of Corporate Express currently either owned by Staples or subject to the irrevocable undertakings announced on June 3 represents 35.6% of the outstanding ordinary share capital of Corporate Express.

Early Tuesday, Staples announced an increased bid for Corporate Express and confirmed that shareholders owning approximately 23.3% of Corporate Express shares have already committed their shares to Staples and agreed to vote against Corporate Express’ planned merger with Lyreco. Corporate Express, based in Amsterdam, reached a merger agreement with French office products reseller Lyreco on May 21 after Staples formally launched its buyout offer on May 19. At a price of E9.15, Staples offer represents a premium of 116 to what the company’s calls Corporate Express’ unaffected share price of E4.32 of Feb. 4. Rumors of the possible combination sent shares of Corporate Express higher by the time Staples announced its bid of E7.15 on Feb. 19. That offer amount was subsequently increased to E8, with the latest increase to E9.15 representing an effort by Staples to provide Corporate Express shareholders an offer they can’t refuse.  Corporate Express has scheduled a special meeting of shareholders for June 18 to vote on the Lyreco acquisition and Staples is urging them to reject that deal in favor of its offer.

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