BOSTON — Corporate Express on Tuesday swiftly rejected an unsolicited $3.67-billion buyout offer from Staples Inc. as too low, but some analysts expect the strategic advantages of combining the two office products suppliers will yield an eventual agreement.
Staples disclosed Tuesday that it had offered to pay a hefty premium in an all-cash bid for Corporate Express -- a proposal that sent the Netherlands-based wholesaler's U.S. shares up nearly 39%. The acquisition would expand Staples' profitable segments serving business customers and overseas clientele after recent slow sales at Staples' U.S. stores.
But Corporate Express rejected the offer about two hours after the world's largest office products supplier announced its bid.
"Corporate Express is of the opinion that this proposal significantly undervalues the company and fails to reflect Corporate Express' prospects," the company said.
Framingham, Mass.-based Staples said its offer came after it made repeated attempts to discuss a deal. After Corporate Express' rejection, Staples declined to comment on whether it might submit a bigger offer.
Bank of America analyst David Strasser said the deal should ultimately go through because of the hefty premium that Staples was offering. Strasser also cited the improved competitive position Staples could gain in both the U.S. and Europe, and greater efficiency from combining warehouse operations with Corporate Express.
Corporate Express' U.S. shares rose $3.15 to $11.24. Shares of Staples rose 11 cents to $22.15.