ACCC gives all-clear for Winc's competitors to merge

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ACCC gives all-clear for Winc's competitors to merge

Australia's competition watchdog has given its approval for Complete Office Solutions to acquire OfficeMax, which could create a substantial competitor to the company formerly known as Staples.

Staples sold its Australian business, including the enterprise technology solutions business, to private investment firm Platinum Equity in March, and was subsequently rebranded as Winc.

A month later, Platinum revealed its bid to acquire OfficeMax, a similar business to Winc that supplies print hardware and accessories, laptops and PCs to large commercial and government customers.

However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stepped in with concerns that a merger between Winc and OfficeMax could result in higher prices and lower service levels among customers, and invited interested parties to submit their concerns. The full review into Platinum's bid is due later this month.

Australian-owned Complete Office Supplies also offered to buy OfficeMax, which the ACCC today said it will not oppose.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said that while a merger between Complete Office Supplies and OfficeMax would lessen competition, the merged entity would be constrained by market leader Winc, which will retain its lead "by some margin".

“Few customers expressed concerns about the proposed acquisition and some suggested that an enlarged COS may be able to compete better with Winc,” said Sims.

“If there are competing proposals to buy a company, the ACCC reviews the proposals independently of each other."

OfficeMax is currently owned by US stationary company Office Depot.

The head of Winc Technology Solutions Karl Sice left the company in September shortly after it was rebranded. He went on to join ASI Solutions as head of acquisitions and strategy.

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