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Shares in Staples, the US office supplies chain, shot higher early on Tuesday on a report that said the group was exploring a sale after its failed merger attempt with Office Depot.

The company is in talks with private equity groups, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. The conversations were in an early stage, the paper said.

Staples’s planned tie-up with Office Depot was scuttled by US antitrust regulators last May.

Shares jumped 14.1 per cent in early trading to $9.83. The shares are still down by about 40 per cent from two years ago, as office supply companies face competition from online rivals like Amazon and declines in the market for printers and other PC accessories.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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