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Staples Courts Dutch Firm

Staples Inc., the world's largest office-supplies retailer, increased its bid for Corporate Express NV by 10 percent to 1.46 billion euros ($2.3 billion) after the Dutch company rejected an initial offer as being too low.

Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples said today it will offer Corporate Express investors 8 euros a share, compared with its Feb. 19 bid of 7.25 euros. The new offer is 85 percent higher than Corporate Express's share price on Feb. 4, the day before takeover speculation drove the stock up 16 percent.

Corporate Express, the world's biggest distributor of office supplies, rose to a six-month high in Amsterdam trading. A purchase of the Dutch company would bolster Staples' most profitable division, which sells office supplies directly to companies. Corporate Express gets more than half its revenue from the U.S.

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