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Feds Want More Info on OfficeMax-Office Depot Merger

However, one antitrust expert said pricing data will ultimately decide the deal's fate, not the transformation of the industry.

In stopping the Staples-Office Depot deal, the FTC relied on evidence that prices were higher where there were two office superstores than where there were three and blocked the deal on that ground.

The companies announced Tuesday that the have appointed a CEO selection committee to oversee the choosing of a chief executive for the combined company.

Office Depot board member Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin Brands Group Inc.; and OfficeMax board member Jim Marino, former president and CEO of Alberto Culver Co.; will co-chair the selection committee. The other members are Office Depot directors Tom Colligan and Marty Evans; Rakesh Gangwal, nonexecutive chairman of the board of OfficeMax; and OfficeMax director Francesca Ruiz de Luzuriaga.

Although both incumbent CEOs will be considered for the new CEO job, external candidates will be considered as well, the company said.

The companies also announced the selection of key executives to oversee the integration planning process for the merger. Saligram and Austrian will provide overall leadership of the integration planning process. However, OfficeMax executive vice president, CFO and chief administrative officer Bruce Besanko and Office Depot executive vice president and CFO Mike Newman will co-chair the integration planning process and have been charged with drawing up a plan designed "to ensure a smooth and productive transition and capture the projected $400-600 million in annual cost synergies by the third year following the transaction's close," the companies said.

Written by William McConnell in New York

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