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Office Depot, Staples call off plans to merge

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NEW YORK — Office Depot and Staples are calling off their plans to merge.

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday that had been requested by the Federal Trade Commission, which opposed Staples’ plan to acquire Office Depot for $6.3 billion.

Now the companies “plan to terminate their merger agreement,” Staples said in a statement.

The FTC argued in December last year that combining the two companies would give them too large a chunk of the office supply market — which would violate antitrust law.

“We are extremely disappointed that the FTC’s request for preliminary injunction was granted despite the fact that it failed to define the relevant market correctly, and fell woefully short of proving its case.”

The NASDAQ halted trading of both companies’ stock around 6:30 pm ET on Tuesday.