Office Depot and Staples couldn't pull off their planned merger last year, but the office-supply retailers could well see their operations combined in Australia and New Zealand.
Boca Raton-based Office Depot has agreed to sell its Australia and New Zealand store operations to Los Angeles private equity firm, Platinum Equity. The stores were once part of OfficeMax, which Office Depot acquired in 2013.
In March, Staples agreed to sell its Australia and New Zealand operations to the same private equity firm, with $11 billion assets founded in 1995 by Tom Gores, owner of the NBA's Detroit Pistons. His firm operates a $6.5 billion global buyout fund specializing in mergers, acquisitions and operations.
A purchase price was not disclosed for either agreed-upon transaction by Office Depot or Staples.
Office Depot CEO Gerry Smith said proceeds from the sale would give the office-supply retailer "flexibility as we focus on our strategic operations to grow our North American business."
Office Depot had $11 billion in sales in 2016, a decline of 6 percent from a year earlier. But profits improved as the retailer has streamlined its operations after the 2013 acquisition of Naperville-based OfficeMax.
The retailer closed 123 stores in 2016, and expects to close 75 this year. Office Depot has a total of 1,441 stores in the U.S., with 145 stores in Florida, according to a regulatory filing.
In May 2016, Office Depot and Massachusetts-based Staples scrapped their planned $6.3 billion merger after the Federal Trade Commission successfully challenged the combination as anti-competitive.
The death of the deal ensured Office Depot's headquarters would remain in Boca Raton, where the company employs about 2,000 people.
Office Depot's stock gained nearly 1.5 percent to $4.77 in trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq, well below its 52-week high of $7.46.