The deal, which first has to be approved by the European Commission, will give Antalis exclusive rights to market and distribute Xerox-branded office paper and digital substrates across Western Europe, including the UK. It does not affect Xerox’s consumables products such as toners, inks and replacement cartridges.

The office paper business employs around 280 people across 16 countries. Although the deal is not expected to be finalised until Q4 2013, “usual HR procedures” with the workers councils have started, according to a statement from Antalis.

David Hunter, managing director of Antalis UK, Ireland and Southern Africa said: “At this stage, we can only confirm that Antalis has made a binding offer to acquire Xerox’s office paper distribution business in Western Europe. Until the acquisition has been approved and completed, which should be finalised early in the fourth quarter of 2013, we are unable to share any specific details with you.”

“What I can say is that this is exciting news for Antalis UK. It offers the potential for us to further expand our product portfolio with the highly renowned global brand to offer even greater choice to our customers.

“It also presents an opportunity for us to gain access to new sales networks and strategic partnerships, which can only be good news for Antalis UK. We are therefore very excited about this news and will ensure to keep you updated when we can.”

Pascal Lebard chief executive of Antalis and French parent firm, Sequana, said that playing an active role in the consolidation of the office paper distribution market would give Antalis “critical mass” in the sector and double both its volumes and sales.

He added: “This acquisition in a competitive market where size is key will allow Antalis to strengthen its legacy business, maximize cash flow generation and improve profitability”.

The company said the acquisition would also allow them to bring new skills into the group and improve profitability and operating efficiency.

The announcement follows the sale earlier this year of Xerox’s US and Canadian paper business.