Office Depot results disappoint; plans special meeting
By Dhanya Skariachan
(Reuters) - Office Depot Inc ODP.N reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and said it would hold a special meeting with investors to seek approval for its pending merger with rival OfficeMax Inc OMX.N.
The news comes as the retailer's board faces heat from its largest shareholder, Starboard Value LP, and awaits regulatory approval for the OfficeMax deal.
Office Depot said it would hold a special investor meeting "as promptly as reasonably possible" after the staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission finishes reviewing merger-related documents.
The company, which in early April received a request for additional information from the Federal Trade Commission, said it was in the process of preparing its response.
Starboard has nominated six candidates to the Office Depot board and has said the board should be reconstituted whether or not the Office Max deal goes through.
Office Depot reported a first-quarter net loss of $17 million, or 6 cents a share, compared with net earnings of $41 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding merger-related costs, restructuring and asset impairment charges, the company broken even on a per-share basis. Analysts on average expected a profit of 5 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales fell 5.4 percent to $2.72 billion, missing analysts' average estimate of $2.75 billion.
While sales to small and medium-size businesses and large corporations rose, sales to clients in the public sector - mainly in its federal and higher education segments - fell due to budget cuts.
(Reporting By Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and John Wallace)
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