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BACK and Staples Announce Strategic Alliance and Listing Agreement

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 8, 2000--

Largest Operator of Office Superstores in the World To

Post Cut-Sheet Paper Requests on Global E-Commerce Exchange, Inc., the global e-business marketplace for the pulp and paper industry, and Staples Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS), the pioneer of the office superstore industry, today announced they have entered into a strategic alliance and listing agreement. As part of the alliance Staples intends to source paper online by posting requests for cut-sheet paper on the site.

"The site conveniently connects members with other buyers and sellers worldwide, opening the door for new vendor relationships," said Thomas G. Stemberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Staples Inc. "Paper sales is a critical component of our overall product offerings and this agreement helps ensure that we can purchase the lowest cost paper possible and pass those savings along to our customers."

"Staples is a recognized pioneer in office supplies, furniture and technology retailing, and we are pleased to partner with such a progressive company and market leader," said Kent A. Dolby, CEO and President of "We believe this alliance will provide Staples with increased efficiency and expanded choice as it continues to grow its business and aggressively expand into the e-commerce arena."

In connection with the listing and strategic alliance agreement, Staples has also made an equity investment in

About Staples

Staples Inc. is a $9 billion retailer of office supplies, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has over 46,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,100 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business. More information about the company is available at

About, Inc., is a leading e-business marketplace for the pulp and paper industry. A global e-business trading tool designed by the paper industry for the paper industry, has members in more than 75 countries. All paper is bought and sold by members through private, secured, anonymous transactions. does not share its member list or transaction information. The proven model delivers new levels of efficiency, convenience, choice and flexibility to the pulp and paper industry. The site generates complete transactions in all major grades of paper. is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. For more information, please visit or call 617-536-4310.

              Wendy Ward, 617-536-4310
              Miller Consulting
              Dan Martin, 617-282-1800