Millions in taxpayer incentives later, Office Depot leaving business-friendly Florida

Office Depot is packing up its corporate bags and shipping out of the Sunshine State, but not before scoring millions in state and local taxpayer incentives.

officedepotThe Boca Raton business giant announced Wednesday that Staples Inc., its chief office supplies competitor, is buying the Fortune 300 company and moving its South Florida corporate headquarters out of the state.

It’s unclear exactly what the future holds for its 2,000-plus employees. Florida Watchdog contacted Staples but did not receive a return response.

Just 14 months ago, Office Depot was awarded a state and local government incentive package worth $5 million — roughly $3 million from the state that has not been paid out, $1.5 million from the city of Boca Raton and $500,000 from Palm Beach County.

All it had to do was stay put in its existing corporate facility.

Months later, however, the company was ripe for acquisition.

“Staples began discussions to acquire Office Depot in (September) 2014,” an Office Depot statement says.

Now, the company is all but gone. Only shareholder approval of Staples’s generous offer and an antitrust regulatory signoff stand in the way of finalizing the deal. Office Depot says it should be completed before the end of the year.

The sale is great news for Office Depot shareholders who are set to receive a 44-percent return on the stock price (as of Wednesday). It’s even better for Office Depot CEO Roland Smith, who after little more than a year on the job will pocket a cool $9 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Ron Sargent, CEO of the Framingham, Mass.-based Staples, called the deal a “transformational acquisition” that will create a combined revenue stream of $39 billion.

Florida taxpayers, Office Deport-based Boca Raton employees and the local economy might not share his excitement.


By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog


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