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OfficeMax, Office Depot talk deal

– The Wall Street Journal is reporting that OfficeMax Inc. and Office Depot Inc. are talking about combining their companies.

The newspaper, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter, said Monday that talks are at an advanced stage, and an announcement could come as early as this week.

OfficeMax reports its fourth-quarter results Thursday, while Office Depot is expected to report results next week. Representatives of the companies declined to comment.

The office supply business is very competitive. Staples is a big player, along with Amazon and big discount stores such as Costco and Wal-Mart.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Office Depot has about 1,675 stores worldwide, mostly in the U.S. and Canada. OfficeMax, based in Naperville, Ill., has about 900 stores in the U.S. and Mexico. If the two companies merged, they could close stores that compete against each other, as well as reduce costs.

The OfficeMax website lists its closest store in Defiance, Ohio, but several years ago the retailer had a Fort Wayne store at 4310 Coldwater Road, just east of Glenbrook Square.

Office Depot has four Fort Wayne locations, including the recently renovated and downsized store at Northcrest Shopping Center on Coliseum Boulevard. The store sustained damage from an electrical fire in August.

Office Depot announced in November that it had redesigned the Northcrest store for customer convenience, scaling it back in size from 32,000 square feet to about 18,000 square feet.

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