The Wall Street Journal reported that the two companies were in advanced discussions about a potential merger. Shares of Office Depot soared as much as 28% on the news, while shares of OfficeMax climbed 19%.
The deal could be announced as early as this week and would be structured as a stock-for-stock transaction, the newspaper said.
In a combination, the companies, which have faced declining revenue from their retail stores in recent years, could close some locations to cut costs and streamline operations.OfficeMax is the world's second largest office products company behind Staples, while Office Depot is the third.
Microsoft (MSFT) is trending as the company begins its push to increase users of its Outlook.com email service. The final version of Outlook.com, which has been in preview since July 31, is being released Tuesday. It works on Windows and Apple (AAPL) machines as well as with an app for Google's (GOOG) Android mobile operating system. The new Outlook includes the ability to send large files in a singe email, address books that automatically update contacts with information from Facebook (FB), Twitter and LinkedIn (LNKD) and fewer ads than Hotmail. To promote the email service, Microsoft is expected to spend between $30 million and $90 million on an advertising campaign that will feature ads on TV, radio, Web sites, billboards and buses. Users of Microsoft's Hotmail service will begin to be automatically moved to Outlook.com if they don't voluntarily switch by halfway through the year. Hotmail users can keep their email addresses but must use the new Outlook interface.
Reader's Digest is another popular search. RDA Holding, parent company of the publication, has filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in four years. The company said it filed for Chapter 11 as it needs to cut its $465 million in debt so it can keep restructuring. RDA said it plans to cut its debt load by 80% during the restructuring period, after which it expects to have $100 million in debt.
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