New twist in office supplies takeover battle

The takeover battle for Dutch office supplies group Corporate Express took a new twist on Wednesday when the company announced its own takeover bid for a French firm.

Corporate Express, which is currently under siege from US office group Staples, made a €1.73bn cash and share offer for French peer Lyreco.
On Monday, Staples launched its €2.8bn bid for the Dutch firm, giving shareholders until June 27 to tender their shares. Corporate Express has dismissed the offer as being too low.
Corporate Express CEO Peter Ventress denies the two events are related. ‘We would have done this even if Staples were not on the horizon. It is a logical combination as we complement each other,’ Ventress was quoted as saying by news agency ANP.
If the Lyreco bid goes through, it will create a company with annual sales of €7.8bn and the biggest European supplier of office products to businesses.
Lyreco CEO Eric Bigeard said in a conference call that the combined company would be better equipped to weather difficult economic conditions. ‘Volume and size helps in this business,’ he said.
But analysts have their doubts about the deal. ‘It remains to be seen whether it will get shareholders’ approval,’ Fortis analyst Maarten Bakker told Reuters news agency. ‘I have my doubts about this’.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation