Cullerton seeks incentives to keep OfficeMax in state

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers will consider offering economic incentives to OfficeMax to keep the company’s headquarters in Naperville once the office supply company mergers with Office Depot later this summer.

State Sen. Tom Cullerton, who testified at a Senate committee today with OfficeMax executives, said the measure is a “proactive” approach to keep OfficeMax in Illinois once the merger is complete.

“We are being proactive in the fight to keep businesses like OfficeMax in Illinois, and we are showing how competitive Illinois can be,” Cullerton said. “This is a bipartisan effort to keep a valuable business and valuable jobs in the state.”

House Bill 3271 creates an economic incentive package for the new OfficeMax/Office Depot company to maintain their corporate headquarters and logistical operation in the Chicago area, according to a release from Cullerton’s office.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Office Depot Inc. announced in February it would acquire OfficeMax in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion. Both companies’ stockholders are expected to vote on the merger July 10, although Office Depot is facing a lawsuit by one its largest shareholder, Starboard Value LP,

The move would combine the No. 2 and No. 3 office supply retailer and lead to consolidation in an industry that analysts have said for years is overstored. It reflects the changing retail landscape as “big box” stores become outmoded and more people shop online.

Over 2,000 OfficeMax employees work in the Chicago area and a decision to locate the new offices in Naperville represents thousands of additional jobs, according to Cullerton’s office.

“This is a chance for the legislature to show critics that Illinois has an open, positive environment for successful corporations,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton’s plan awaits further action by the Senate.

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