Via the New York Times:
In planning a $6.3 billion merger, Staples and Office Depot are betting that 18 years was long enough for government regulators to change their minds about how consumers buy office supplies. The deal, announced on Wednesday, is expected to be closely evaluated by antitrust authorities, given that it will shrink the world of office supply retail specialists to a single chain. A previous attempt to unite the two in 1997 was blocked by the Federal Trade Commission. But the two retailers will argue that since then, the business of selling office supplies has become significantly more competitive. Customers can choose from a variety of sources, including giants like Walmart, Target and Amazon. It is this rise of alternatives that helped propel the latest merger talks in the first place.
Office Depot bought Office Max just two years ago. In a press release posted on their website, Staples headlines the deal as an acquisition, not a merger.