Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS) shares jumped on Thursday amid reports the office supplies retailer had rejected a takeover offer from Cerberus Capital Management, leaving Sycamore Partners as a possible acquirer. SPLS stock gained 3.2%, trading nearly twice its average daily volume.
The chain nixed a bid from Cerberus, which valued the company at more than its current market value of about $5.8 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Sycamore is a private equity firm specializing in retail and consumer investments.
A proposed merger with Office Depot Inc (NASDAQ:ODP) was blocked a year ago, by a federal judge, over concerns it would have created an unrivaled giant. Demand for office products (paper-based) has been decreasing due to technological advancements. Smartphones, tablets and laptops are fast emerging as viable substitutes for paper-based office supplies, and there has been persistent weakness in the office products sector.
Staples earlier this month delivered Q1 results that fell short of Wall Street expectations. The office-supplies retailer said sales in the first quarter were $4.15 billion, down 4.9% from last year’s comparable period. Analysts had expected the number to reach $4.5 billion. Comp sales were down 2.6%. Net income was $105 million in the period against $60 million last year. Earnings per share at 16 cents were a penny below the forecast average of 17 cents.
SPLS stock is down 8% in the last six months. As InvestorPlace contributor Josh Enomoto wrote on May 15, “during its heyday — essentially, the entire 1990s decade — you couldn’t find a better investment than SPLS stock. From start to finish, the office supply retailer generated 1,800% in profits. On average, nineties investors could expect nearly 48% in average annual returns.”