Newly-merged Office Depot chooses Florida over Illinois

Bad for Naperville, good for Boca Raton: After buying OfficeMax for $1.2 billion, Office Depot leaves Illinois for its new headquarters in Florida.
Posted By Sonali Basak   |   Dec. 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM   |   0 comments

Dec. 10 (UPI) -- As Office Depot and OfficeMax finally completed a merger last month, they announced Tuesday that the new company will be headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla.

This is where the original Office Depot headquarters is located, and they have chosen this over the OfficeMax headquarters in Naperville, Ill. The choice was made based on cost of operations in each locations, cost of lease, tax breaks and government subsidies, the company reported.

This move comes after asking for tax breaks in both states, with a request to Illinois lawmakers for a generous tax break of $53 million over 15 years. Lawmakers adjourned meetings last week before reaching a decision.

It also assuages months of Boca Raton resident anticipation, as Office Depot is only one of two Fortune 500s in Palm Beach County, employing 1,700 people.

The merged company had many big decisions to make along with its new home. Last month, they named Roland Smith as chief executive. Smith was the former CEO of the U.S. branch of Belgian food retailer Delhaize America LLC, and former CEO of Wendy's Co. the holding group for Wendy's restaurant chain.

“Both Florida and Illinois have many positive attributes, but our analysis concluded that Boca Raton provides the best platform for us to achieve planned synergies, leverage assets to drive improved profitability, and launch a compelling vision for the future," Smith said in a statement marking the release, and thanking Illinois and Florida lawmakers.

To grow a competitive team to address hurdles of the merged company, including rising competition from Amazon and Staples, Smith said the company "will select the best talent available from both locations."

The company retains Office Depot's 625,000-square-foot space, which the company reports to have "ample space to accommodate associates who will relocate from Illinois." Office Max has close to 2,000 employees currently throughout Illinois and 1,600 in Naperville. The companies have close to 22,000 employees combined.

[Wall Street Journal]
[Palm Beach Post]
[Chicago Tribune]

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