Office World is on the verge of being bought by US stationary giant Office Depot in a deal worth an estimated #10 million.
It is understood that Office Depot will take on Office World's 60 out-of-town stores in the UK, though it is not known whether the deal includes the retailer's German and Swiss outlets.
The sale ends months of speculation over the future of Office World, which is owned by Swiss group Migros. The retailer has not made a profit in the past five years - in the year ended December 1997, it recorded a loss of #1.6 million.
The company's fortunes showed signs of change in early 1998 in the wake of the appointment of managing director Eric Born. It suffered a blow in April following the termination of its in-store concessions deal with Byte in 45 stores, when the PC retailer was sold to Dixons Group (PC Dealer, 15 April 1998).
Jeremy Davies, senior analyst at Context, said: 'Office Depot, Staples and CompUSA are the main retailers in the US. The acquisition makes sense as Office Depot wants to strengthen its UK operation.'
The deal comes eight months after Office Depot acquired Viking Office Supplies and its UK subsidiary, Viking Direct, for $3 billion.
Office World was due to make a statement on 18 January, but at the time of going to press no statement had been made.
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