|Founded||1993 - Staples Contract and Commercial
1993 - Buhrmann N.V.
1986 - Corporate Express
|Headquarters||Massachusetts, United States of America|
|Key people||Shira Goodman President, North American Commercial|
|Revenue||$23.1 billion (2013)|
|Operating income||$1.2 billion (2013)|
|Profit||$1.1 billion (2013)|
Staples Advantage is the contract division of Staples Inc., providing office products to businesses and institutions. Established in 1993 as Staples Contract and Commercial, the division was rebranded as Staples National Advantage and Staples Business Advantage in 1995. In 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express (previously known as Buhrmann), expanding its contract offering to a global market. In 2009, this division was rebranded as Staples Advantage, as it is known today.
Buhrmann N.V. was initially formed from KNP BT, a paper, packaging and printing industry distribution company, founded in 1993 by the simultaneous merger of three companies: Koninklijke Nederlandsche Papierfabrieken (KNP), Bührmann-Tetterode and VRG-Groep. Across 1997 and 1998, the paper and packaging business areas were divested, leaving just the distribution interest, covering BT Office Products as well as graphic systems and paper merchandising businesses. KNP BT was renamed Buhrmann N.V. in July 1998.
Corporate Express Corporation
Corporate Express was founded by Jirka Rysavy, also the founder of Gaiam, in 1986 in Boulder, Colorado. Initially a regional office products retailer with 11 employees located in one small building, the company quickly established a program of strategic procurement solutions as an important industry innovation.
Initial growth was rapid. In 1991, Corporate Express became a public company with reported revenues of $621 million annually. Through acquisition of approximately 200 companies by the end of 1999, the company quickly and seamlessly added to its product lines, customer services and geographic breadth to serve a growing group of national and international businesses, including many of the world's largest and best known organizations. By January of 1999, its last full year SEC filing, Corporate Express had revenues of $3.75B.
Buhrmann and Corporate Express Merger
In October 1999, Buhrmann acquired its competitor Corporate Express Corporation and combined it with BT Office Products. Corporate Express became the name of the office products arm of Buhrmann N.V..
In May 2001, Corporate Express acquired substantially all of the US Office Products (USOP) North American office products assets, including certain stand-alone furniture businesses. USOP's North American office products operations were integrated into Corporate Express, resulting in expected revenues of approximately $5 billion in North America. In 2003, Jirka Rysavy fully retired at age 48. Former Vice President, John F Ebert of Green Bay, Wisconsin assumed role of President and CEO of Corporate Express.
The company's new focus on a single business area was consolidated when its paper merchandising division was sold to Australia's PaperlinX in October 2003, leaving only the office-related products business. Reflecting the new single focus, it was decided to change the name of the company to Corporate Express N.V. in April 2004.
Staples acquisition of Corporate Express
United States-based office supplies retailer Staples Inc. launched an unsolicited acquisition bid for the company on 19 February 2008, offering €7.25 per share. The Corporate Express board rejected the offer, saying that the price undervalued the company. In a move widely seen as an attempt to stave off interest from Staples, the president and CEO of Corporate Express, John F Ebert, announced a planned €1.4 billion takeover of French rival Lyreco on 21 May, only for Staples to make an increased offer of €9.15 per share on 3 June. After this too was rejected, a final offer of €8.25 per share (valuing Corporate Express at €1.68 billion) was accepted by the board on 11 June. The proposed Lyreco acquisition was subsequently abandoned. With over 95% of its stock acquired by Staples, Corporate Express was removed from the AEX index on 4 July 2008. Shares of the company were delisted on 5 August as Staples gained full control. This Buyout of 1.68 billion Euro, Equal to 2,204,910,223.03 USD, was one of the biggest of the decade. After dividends, of $34.61 per share, the remaining 340 million USD was distributed among the Board of Directors, each totaling approximately 30 million USD. Corporate Express is now part of Staples Advantage and is publicly traded on the NYSE under symbol SPLS. 
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