PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Two years after Office Depot gobbled up Office Max; it’s now being acquired itself. This time Staples is buying its chief competitor, Office Depot.

“I don’t find that to be real surprising news,” University of Pittsburgh Katz Business School Professor Diane Denis told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

“I know that it’s something that they’ve been talking about for a little while. But the competitive landscape in the office supply business has changed a whole lot,” added Denis.

Staples will buy Office Depot for $6.3 billion.

The number one office supplier has 83,000 employees, 2,100 stores, and revenue of $23 billion.

Office Depot has 60,000 employees, 2,000 stores with $17 billion in revenue.

Company officials would not say how many Office Depot or Staples stores would be closed after the merger.

But they did note that about half these stores are within five miles of each other.

Prof. Denis says layoffs and store closures are inevitable.

“They’re looking for a billion dollars annually eventually in cost savings and that’s going to have to require store closures.”

Customers took the news in stride.

“I always thought the service was better at Staples, so I think that is probably a win-win for the customer,” said Dede Rittman of McCandless.

“I usually just go whatever is closest so whatever is the quickest place to go to is usually where I end up,” added Shana Mackie of Wexford.

Some worry about less competition.

“You don’t have that option of one versus the other,” said Julia Smith of the North Side.

The bigger Staples will face competition from Walmart, Target — and, increasingly, amazon.dot.com.

“Sometimes it’s easier to just order on line and have it shipped directly to your home than it is to go out and come to the store,” observed Todd Gwin of Wexford.

If the government approves the deal, Staples hopes to complete the purchase by the end of the year.

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