Office Depot up on talks to sell Israeli stores

AP News
Posted: Oct 13, 2010 3:48 PM
Office Depot up on talks to sell Israeli stores

Shares of Office Depot Inc. moved higher in Wednesday trading after the Boca Raton, Fla.-based retailer said late Tuesday it is in negotiations to sell its Office Depot Israel Ltd. business to New Hamashbir Lazarchan Ltd. for $47 million, minus the stores' outstanding debt.

Office Depot Israel currently operates 46 stores in the Mideast nation. Retail sales account about 90 percent of the Israeli business' sales. The deal would also include licensing of certain trade names and intellectual property rights.

Hamashbir Lazarchan operates Hamashbir department stores, New-Pharm Drugstores and other businesses in Israel.

Separately, a J.P. Morgan analyst said the office products retail sector may be the next to see acquisitions or consolidation. OfficeMax Inc. was tagged as the most likely acquisition target, analyst Christopher Horvers said Office Depot may consider buying its smaller rival. Office Depot was also among the potential takeover targets itself, he said.

Office Depot share added 6 cents, to $5.08 in afternoon trading. The stock has changed hands between $3.36 and $9.19 in the past 52 weeks.