Court Orders Liquidation of Office Depot Israel

Employees to be dismissed after acquisition talks with Retail Group 3000 collapse.

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The Lod District Court ordered the temporary liquidation of Office Depot Israel on Monday, along with the dismissal of all of the company's local employees.

The stores are closing their doors for 14 days, starting Monday.

“For all the pain it entails, the company has reached the end of its road,” said Judge Irit Weinberg-Nutovitz. “It’s sad, but nothing else can be done.”

Dozens of the company’s workers came to the court to express their disappointment and anger.

The date for the court session had been pushed up following the request of the trustee for the company’s assets, who said that funding to keep the stores operating had run out following Sunday's collapse of negotiations between the global headquarters of Office Depot and Israel's Retail Group 3000, owned by Ronen Levy.

Retail Group 3000 entered talks two weeks ago to take over Israel's Office Depot chain and provide financing to keep the company operating in the meantime. 

“Office Depot International has sabotaged the two last attempts [to purchase the local franchise] and wants the third suitor to compensate it for all the crimes of the past, which brought us to a break in the negotiations,” said Sarit Zeevi, the lawyer representing Retail Group 3000.

Office Depot has operated in Israel for the past 20 years, after being brought to the country by businessman Tzachi Fishbein. He also competed in a previous round of talks to acquire the franchise before Retail Group 3000.

“Today is a sad day,” Fishbein told TheMarker Monday. “When we sold [the local franchise of] Office Depot to the worldwide company in 2008, sales stood at NIS 650 million per year, but recently they were at NIS 200 million."

”Since then, five and a half years have gone by," he said. "And unfortunately, just like a company can be built up in a systematic manner with vision, so too the path downward is rapid.”

An Office Depot outlet. Credit: Nir Keidar

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