Office Depot to buy Office Max in $1.17BN share swap

Office Depot is buying its rival, Office Max.</p>

Office Depot is buying its rival, Office Max.

Someone has fat fingers at Office Depot.

The supplier of pens, erasers and notepads announced Wednesday it had agreed to buy rival Office Max in a $1.17 billion stock transfer, creating a company with a combined $18 billion in sales, Forbes reported.

But the press release announcing the deal was released prematurely early Wednesday morning and had to be pulled while lawyers and bankers for the two companies dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, the New York Times reported.

Market chatter about the deal – the latest major corporate tie-up in recent weeks – helped drive US stocks to their highest close in five years on Tuesday.

Reuters reported Office Depot would issue 2.69 new shares for each Office Max share outstanding.

The errant press release also contained Office Depot’s earnings, which weren’t expected for another week, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Office Depot later rereleased its fourth quarter earnings, which showed the company swung to a loss of $7.3 million in the last three months of 2012.

Office Max also reported a loss as revenue fell and expenses rose.