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Merging Office Depot Inc. with OfficeMax Inc. would help reverse the U.S. retail industry’s worst valuations.

After Office Depot tumbled 94 percent since peaking in 2006, Starboard Value LP became its biggest owner in September. The activist investor is demanding action as Office Depot, which last week erected a takeover defense, and OfficeMax trade for the lowest multiples versus sales among U.S. retailers valued at $500 million or more, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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