Office Depot (ODP) - Get Report and Alibaba (BABA) - Get Report announced a partnership that will create an online store to allow small- and medium-sized U.S. businesses access to the global marketplace.
The companies said the partnership will leverage Office Depot's customer base, sales force of 1,800, supply chain network and physical locations with Alibaba's online presence to give U.S. business owners the infrastructure they need to compete globally.
The new online venture will be branded Office Depot on Alibaba.com.
The two companies saw great synergy in their efforts to serve the small- and medium-business community and leveraged that synergy into a partnership.
"Our assets matched perfectly with Office Depot. We saw a great alignment," John Kaplan, head of Alibaba's North American operation, told TheStreet on Monday. "We said let's be an asset to the SMB community by partnering with one of the best companies serving them, and we are perfectly happy with that partnership."
In a press release, Gerry Smith, CEO of Office Depot, said that "as a trusted partner to millions of businesses, our customers tell us they want more choice in the market and need an expanded set of products and services to help their businesses grow. We believe our collaboration with Alibaba.com is exactly what they are asking for."
Smith added that "leveraging Office Depot's trusted brand, local presence, and national supply chain distribution network with Alibaba's global supplier network and well-known capabilities in serving SMBs, U.S. businesses can now access a wide array of products and services through Office Depot and Alibaba.com's collaboration, which will empower them to compete and thrive."
Office Depot shares were down 2.5% to $3.47 amid a broader market selloff after jumping 6.7% to $3.79 in early trading. Alibaba shares were up 1.3% to $186.26.