Staples Inc., put an end to the first month of the new year by ending the employement of hundreds of workers at its Framingham, Ma., headquarters on Monday, reported Fortune. A move that comes as the office supply retailer continues to seek the approval of a merger with Office Depot Inc., from federal regulators.

The cuts weren't made public by the office superstore and were only confirmed by a current employee and a former employee, both of whom gave the information anonymously due to job and severance concerns.

"It was a bloodbath," says one source, who adds that pink slips were handed to both senior and junior employees.

Staples spokesman Kirk Saville decline to confirm or deny the layoffs, only referring inquiring minds to a press release issued Monday that announced leadership changes and structure streamlining as it "creates a more efficient, focused, organization."

"We are streamlining the organization and building a simplified structure that will speed decision-making and enable us to focus on driving profitable growth," said Ron Sargent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "These changes will help us compete in a rapidly evolving marketplace, either as a standalone company or in combination with Office Depot."

It made no mention of the layoffs and only disclosed the resignation of Demos Parneros who ran the company's North American Stores and Online division for 28 years, and other management changes.

The layoffs come as Staples and Office Depot continue to work with the FTC to gain regulatory approval for a $6.3 billion merger, and analysts believe the move was conducted in the chance that it doesn't get approved, reported the Boston Globe.

The move has been under scrutiny since it was announced last year, with the FTC arguing that the merger would give the resulting company too much pricing power in its segment of the market providng office supplies directly to businesses.

In order to allay those fears, the company offered to sell commercial contracts worth $500 million, and then raised the amount in a subsequent offer to $1.25 billion, but was rejected.