is betting that a technology makeover can help the chain rebound from a punishing retail slump.
The office-supply companyto buy, giving it a platform to sell tech services to business customers. Office Depot is acquiring CompuCom from private equity firmfor about $1 billion, a price that includes repaying the takeover target’s debt.
The company described the move as the first step toward a becoming a seller of business services and technology, rather than a traditional retailer of paper, pens and staplers. CompuCom employs about 6,000 licensed technicians — the largest workforce of its kind in North America, Office Depot said. They provide software and hardware help to businesses with more than 5.1 million users.
Office Depot is in dire need of a jump-start. When the struggling company announced the CompuCom deal, it also lowered its outlook for the year. The recent hurricanes and a slow back-to-school period both weighed on results, the company said.
“Technology is the office supply of the future,” Chief Executive Officer Gerry Smith said in a statement. “Today marks a significant milestone.”