Staples Inclined to Exit China

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Staples Ready to Take Bids for China Business, as It Looks for an Exit

Staples is talking to potential buyers for its 13-year-old China business, sources say, as part of the retailer’s plan announced last year to downsize and focus on North America.

Staples Inc. is moving forward with plans to sell its operations in China, as it looks to focus on its business closer to home, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. office-supply retailer is talking to potential buyers in Asia, with a round of bids due in a couple of weeks, a person familiar with the matter said. The deal is likely to be small, the people said.

The company is divesting its China business as part of a plan announced last year to downsize stores and focus on its North American business. Staples in March sold its Australia and New Zealand operations to U.S. buyout shop Platinum Equity LLC. It sold a majority stake in its European business to private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP in December.

Staples, which used to be a public company, was recently bought out by Sycamore Partners, a U.S. private-equity firm, for about US$6.9 billion. The company decided to sell itself after failing to merge with its key rival Office Depot Inc. ODP, -12.10% last year.

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