Moody's Investors Service said on Thursday that it has placed both the Baa2 long-term and Prime-2 short term ratings of Staples (SPLS) on review for a downgrade.

Moody's decision follows the home and office supplies retailer's announcement that it will be acquired by financial sponsor Sycamore Partners for about $7 billion.

"These rating actions recognize the impact this transaction will have on Staples' capital structure due to the significant levels of new debt that will be necessary to finance the buyout," Moody's VP Charlie O'Shea said. "Assuming the transaction closes as generally outlined, downgrades of multiple notches to speculative grade are likely, and we note that it is very rare for a sponsor-owned company to maintain a rating much above the Ba category."

Shares of Staples were up by 1.71% to $10.10 in early afternoon trading.

What's Hot On TheStreet

Happy birthday iPhone: Apple's (AAPL) - Get Report iPhone turns 10 years old today! What an amazing product Steve Jobs and his team created. But, as TheStreet's Natalie Walters points out, the next five years for Apple could be radically different. Sales could well be boosted by new, non-iPhone products such as smart glasses and autonomous car technologies. Walters also mentions that iPhone demand may peak in 2019.

Blue Apron falters: Blue Apron (APRN) - Get Report plans an initial public offering on Thursday seeking a valuation of about $2 billion. That's down significantly from a $3.2 billion valuation it had previously hoped to achieve. In the public sphere, the New York-based meal kit delivery service's IPO comes at an unsettling time, points out TheStreet's Ron Orol, as the markets begin to digest Amazon Inc.'s (AMZN) - Get Report mega $13.4 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) . Moreover, investors have questioned Blue Apron's business model -- it hasn't turned a profit since 2012 due to rising marketing and distribution costs.

Regulators outsmarted: With questions swirling whether its combination would get approved by regulators, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) - Get Report and Rite-Aid RAD struck a clever deal on Thursday. Walgreens will pay $5.175 billion to Rite-Aid in cash and receive 2,186 stores in return. Walgreens will also pay Rite-Aid a $325 million termination fee for its planned buyout of the company.

Walgreens will be an even bigger drug-selling beast, with more than 15,000 stores spanning 11 countries. As for Rite-Aid, it will be left with about 2,300 stores once the deal closes in six months.

Apple and Walgreens Boots Alliance are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL and WBA? Learn more now.

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