Shares of Staples Inc. surged nearly 5% in after-hours trading late Wednesday after Reuters reported that private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced talks to acquire the office supplies retailer. Reuters said Sycamore is finalizing a debt financing deal with Staples after beating out Cerberus Capital Management in an auction. A final deal, which may top $6 billion, could be announced next week, the report said. The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the troubled retailer was seeking a buyer. Staples has more than 1,200 stores in the U.S., but has been forced to close hundreds of stores in recent years due to an extended slump in sales. A proposed merger with rival Office Depot Inc. was rejected in 2016 over antitrust concerns. Staples shares are down 0.7% over the past month, and down 1.3% over the past year.
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