Shares of rival office supply chains Office Depot and OfficeMax soared in early trading Tuesday following widespread reports that the two companies are in merger talks.
OfficeMax ( shares rallied 30%, while shares of )Office Depot (, the larger of the two, surged 24%. )
Office Depot has 1,262 stores worldwide, 39,000 employees, and 2011 sales of $11.5 billion, the last full year for which it has reported results.
Office Max has 978 stores, 29,000 employees and 2011 sales of $7.1 billion.
The talks come as mergers and acquisitions have picked up.
Just last week, US Airways ( announced a )merger with American Airlines parent AMR (, Warren Buffett's )Berkshire Hathaway ( announced it was )buying Heinz (, and ) Comcas (t announced a $16.7 billion deal for the 49% of ) NBC Universal that was still owned by General Electri (c. )
Both Office Depot and OfficeMax are dwarfed by Staples (, which operates 2,248 stores worldwide and had 2011 sales of $25 billion. Staples has also face increased competition from online retailers, such as )Amazon (. Staples shares were also up nearly 14% in early trading. )
The merger talks were widely reported Monday, when U.S. markets were closed for a holiday.