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Justice Dept. Should Steer Clear of Office Depot Merger

Stocks in this article: ODP OMX SPLS BUD LCC

Of course, the DOJ has had some bigger fish in recent days, for one, making sure that Americans aren't paying too much for beer given Anheuser-Busch InBev's (BUD) proposed acquisition of the 50% of Grupo Modelo (GPMCY), brewer of Corona, which it does not already own. Last week, AB InBev gave up that fight, changing the deal in order to comply with antitrust laws, and will sell the rights to Corona, along with other Grupo Modelo brands to wine name Constellation Brands (STZ) for a reported $2.9 billion. Game over; DOJ victory, and beer drinkers can now rest easy. STZ Chart STZ data by YCharts

Frankly, I'm also a bit surprised that more has not been made of the US Airways (LCC)-American Airlines merger, which is expected by many to sail through a DOJ antitrust review. While there's not a great deal of overlap between the routes that these airlines fly, the merger will result in the world's largest carrier, in an industry that is extremely capital intensive, in which barriers to entry are huge. While the merger makes sense, and should be allowed to move forward, in my opinion, there are some potential ironies. The DOJ blocked a beer company merger, in order to protect Americans from the possibility of paying higher beer prices, but is likely to let an airline merger, seen by some as creating a decrease in competition, proceed.

Now, we wait with bated breath to see whether two office supply companies, purveyors of pencils, paper, and folders will be allowed to proceed with their merger.

Stay tuned.

At the time of publication, Heller had no positions in stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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