Staples is exploring a sale to private equity, according to the WSJ. This comes after U.S. regulators effectively blocked the office retailer from acquiring rival Office Depot.

Why it's a big deal: For all of its problems, Staples remains a $6 billion company and the go-to physical source for office supplies.

Bull case: Staples stock over the past six months hasn't been this cheap since 1998. Even the takeover report couldn't push it past $10 per share.

Bear case: There are a lot of good reasons why Staples stock hasn't been this cheap since 1998, including online cannibalization (read: Amazon) and declining performance. Plus, private equity isn't exactly known to be clamoring right now for big box retailers. In other words, this reads a bit like Staples (now under a new CEO) seeking a buyer via the press.

Bottom line: "After the [Office Depot] deal collapsed, Staples said it would cut costs and redouble efforts to win more business from midsize companies. But the turnaround strategy, dubbed Staples 20/20, hasn't yielded significant gains yet." ― WSJ

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