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Office Depot Acquires Complete Office Solutions

Office Depot has purchased Complete Office Solutions (formerly asi/166123), a Wisconsin-headquartered firm that had been one of the nation’s biggest independent office supplies dealers and also a distributor of promotional products. Financial terms of the deal were not available.

Speaking with OPI, Complete’s co-founder Ted Nark said that Office Depot would run Complete independently, with the Wisconsin-headquartered company keeping its name, staff and distribution facilities, which Office Depot is reportedly renting. Going forward, the plan is to have Complete Office Solutions operate as a standalone unit that keys-in on mid-market clients, Nark told OPI.

Founded in 2003 by Nark and Rick Israel, Complete Office Solutions leveraged acquisitions and drove organic growth to soar from a $1 million company in its first year to a firm that does $150 million in sales. Employing about 300 people, Complete has locations in Wisconsin, Washington and California. Under the deal, Nark is departing the company, but other key executives, including Israel, are remaining. The business model and sales representatives’ commission plans are slated to stay the same.

A long-time heavyweight in the office supplies space, Office Depot is trying to diversify as its traditional big box retail business suffers under increasingly stiff competition, particularly from online purveyors like Amazon. To that end, Office Depot this month announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CompuCom Systems for about $1 billion. CompuCom is a provider of IT services and solutions, and the acquisition of such a company represents the first step in Office Depot’s pivot from being a “traditional office products retailer to a broader business services and technology products platform,” according to a company statement.