March M&A Roundup: Activity Slows After Blistering Start to 2023 - Modern Distribution Management

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March M&A Roundup: Activity Slows After Blistering Start to 2023

The pace of mergers and acquisitions among industrial distributors and manufacturers stalled in March following several strong months.

After a strong start to 2023 — including January, which saw nearly 50 mergers and acquisitions — the pace of M&A deals among distributors and manufacturers slowed in March. For the month, MDM reported 22 deals. It’s the lowest amount since November 2022, which also featured 22 announcements reported by MDM. (We reported 29 deals in February.) Is the dip in activity an aberration, or is it the beginning of slowdown in M&A that some have predicted? That remains to be seen, as the calendar turns to the second quarter of 2023.

Still, there were several major deals that happened in March. On March 15, the federal government approved Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion acquisition of Kansas City Southern. It was the first major railroad merger in more than two decades. One day earlier, specialty chemical and food ingredient distributor Univar Solutions announced it had agreed to be acquired by New York-based private equity firm Apollo for more than $8 billion. Also, Distribution Solutions Group said March 31 that it reached an agreement to acquire Hisco for $319 million. Distribution M&A regulars Imperial Dade and Rexel also announced deals during the month. Below, read about all the M&A activity that MDM reported on in March.

March M&A:

These are the M&A announcements — primarily involving distributors, but also manufacturers that sell through the channel — that MDM covered during March 2023 (click the headline for more details):

Check out our February 2023 M&A recap here.

Check out our January 2023 M&A recap here.

Check out our 2022 full-year M&A recap here.

Looking for M&A thought leadership? In a series of three MDM Premium articles, Executive Editor Mike Hockett distilled key takeaways and commentary from the final session of MDM’s 2023 Virtual M&A Summit, which was held Feb. 22-23. One published March 8 focused on build-buy-invest tactics ; one published March 20 focused on honest communication; and one published on March 27 focused on valuation factors of emotion, risk and retirement.

Did we miss anything? Please send M&A announcements to We also welcome suggestions for “Behind the Deal,” our occasional series that takes a deep dive into market-shifting moves in wholesale distribution.

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