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Staples Buys European Mail-Order Company

Staples Inc., Framingham, MA, announced yesterday a definitive agreement to buy the mail-order business of Guilbert, a direct mail office products reseller to small businesses in Europe, from the Pinault-Printemps-Redoute Group for 825 million euros.

This lets Staples enter the office supplies mail-order market in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium and strengthen its mail-order presence in the United Kingdom. Subject to the approval of European authorities, the transaction is expected to be completed in the fall.

Based outside of Paris, last year this business reported 441 million euros in sales. Staples said it is the No. 1 office products mail-order business in France, Italy and Spain and the UK's second largest. It has nearly 1,500 associates and operates as JPG and Bernard in France and Belgium, MondOffice in Italy, Kalamazoo in Spain and Neat Ideas in the UK. It will continue to operate under its own brand names.

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