Office Depot and OfficeMax shares soar on merger chatter

  @CNNMoneyInvest February 19, 2013: 10:34 AM ET
Staples not an 'easy' button investment

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 (OMX, Fortune 500) shares rallied 30%, while shares of Office Depot (ODP, Fortune 500), 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 (LCC, Fortune 500) announced a merger with American Airlines parent AMR (AAMRQ, Fortune 500), Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, Fortune 500) announced it was buying Heinz (HNZ, Fortune 500), and Comcas (CMCSA)t announced a $16.7 billion deal for the 49% of NBC Universal that was still owned by General Electri (GE, Fortune 500)c.

Related: M&A making a comeback

Both Office Depot and OfficeMax are dwarfed by Staples (SPLS, Fortune 500), 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 (AMZN, Fortune 500). 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. To top of page

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