The dumbest deals of 2013

We take a look at some of the lowlights from the business world in 2013.

OfficeMax-Office Depot

2013 deals office max depot
  • Deal: OfficeMax merges with Office Depot

Perhaps they should have gone with Michael Scott.

When Office Depot announced its merger with OfficeMax in February, the companies left open which of their CEOs would end up leading the combined office supply chain. In the end, the search committee decided neither was qualified. Worse, it seemed no one else wanted the job either. When the deal was completed in early November, Office Depot (ODP, Fortune 500) still hadn't found a new CEO. Eventually, the company went with Roland Smith, who came from the grocery business, and had once been the head of Wendy's.

Also complicating the merger was the fact that the Federal Trade Commission considered blocking the deal. Back in 1996, the FTC had put the kibosh on a deal between Office Depot and Staples for anti-trust reasons. This time around the FTC announced that after a lengthy investigation the agency concluded that both Office Depot and Office Max were losing sales to online competitors and lacked the ability to raise prices above Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500). Even non-superstore competitors, the FTC determined, regularly take business from Office Depot and OfficeMax. So thumbs up guys.

  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated December 24 2013 11:50 AM ET
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