Thursday, June 29, 2017

Stapled to the Front Page

It's to the top left corner:

"Staples agrees to $6.9 billion buyout" by Janelle Nanos and Jon Chesto Globe Staff  June 28, 2017

Staples Inc. has agreed to be acquired by the investment firm Sycamore Partners for about $6.9 billion, the latest attempt by the Framingham-based retailer to end its downward spiral of shrinking sales, store closings, and layoffs.

The deal, announced Wednesday, highlights Staples’ attempts to survive in an office-supply market upended by the rise of e-commerce and an increasingly digital workplace.

The company opened its first store in 1986, with backing from Boston’s Bain Capital, and expanded steadily to become the biggest player in the office-supplymarket. But competition from online retailers like has eaten into sales and profits, forcing Staples to retrench.

Sycamore has experience taking on troubled retailers.

Analysts said Staples faces an uphill battle, even as a private company.

“This doesn’t change the industry dynamics or the pressures the retailer faces,” said Seema Shah, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

“The risk is, of course, is that sales and margins continue to be under pressure and that the retailer struggles to service its debt,” she said.

For years, Staples has been scaling back its physical footprint, having shuttered 350 stores in the past five years. In March, it announced plans to close 70 more.

The company has struggled with declining revenues and profits for years, and in May reported first-quarter revenue of $4.1 billion, down 4.9 percent from a year earlier. It saw a net loss of $815 million, largely from discontinued operations, compared with net income of $41 million in the prior year’s period.

But in an effort to make better use of its brick-and-mortar stores, Staples partnered with the co-working startup Workbar to create shared office spaces. Staples now hosts three co-branded workspaces, in its Brighton, Danvers, and Norwood stores. The company also recently launched a series of television ads that aim to shift its focus away from retail storefronts and more to serving business managers.

Staples’ start dates back to when its founder, grocery store executive Tom Stemberg, struggled to find a roll of typewriter ribbon over the Fourth of July weekend in 1985.

Stemberg opened his first store less than a year later, and Bain Capital helped take the company public in 1989.

Staples’ chief executive, Shira Goodman, arrived at Staples in the 1990s after working with the company as a consultant at Bain & Co.....


You can check the rubble for more.

"The US stock market notched its biggest gain in two months Wednesday, bouncing back from losses a day earlier. Staples climbed 8.5 percent after The Wall Street Journal reported the office supplies retailer has agreed to be acquired by Sycamore Partners. The stock was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. Banks and other financial companies led the rally, however, as investors bet on interest rates climbing further. Banks can make more money on lending when rates move higher. Technology companies were among the big gainers, recouping some of their recent losses. Energy stocks also rose as the price of crude oil closed higher for the fifth straight day. Utilities and real estate companies were the only laggards. Investors also bid up shares in companies that reported improved quarterly results....."

We are all rich out here.

"Staples charity goes Gaga, dumps Perry as partner" June 28, 2017

Katy Perry famously got into an ongoing feud with Taylor Swift. But maybe she should train her sights on Lady Gaga instead.

After all, Staples decided to work with Gaga this year as the celebrity partner for its Staples for Students program. Perry, it turns out, is so 2016.

A Staples spokeswoman said no slight was intended. Perry was also involved in the campaign in 2014, before Staples worked with singer Nick Jonas. Staples picks celebrities that appeal to both moms and teens. They also need to have a demonstrated interest in helping students.

A huge social media following — Gaga has 67 million followers on Twitter, while Perry has 100 million — sure helps, too.

So why did Lady Gaga get the honors this time around? The Staples spokeswoman said company executives were impressed with her work in schools through her Born This Way Foundation. Staples is sponsoring Lady Gaga’s summer tour and donating $1 million to her foundation to help create positive classroom experiences, alongside a corporate $1 million gift to to support teachers and students.

More likely it was Perry's meltdown, and now Lady Gaga is queen.

As part of the campaign, Staples has created a new public service announcement with the singer that features a call to action to promote kindness in school and support teachers so they have the resources they need in the classroom.

Gaga fans will get the chance to enter a sweepstakes to win a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to Las Vegas to meet the singer and attend a concert. Five additional winners will get the Vegas trip and concert tickets.

No word yet on whether the executives at Sycamore Partners — the New York-based private equity firm that unveiled a deal to buy Staples on Wednesday for $6.9 billion — will have tickets to the show as well. But it’s a good bet the folks at the office supplier’s Framingham headquarters will be able to secure a few for them.


Also see:

"On the eve of its initial public offering, Blue Apron has resorted to offering a discount — for its own shares....."

"Production of blueberries has been high in recent years, but prices have sunk to a 10-year low....."

It is to be called lean, finely textured beef from now on.


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