If you’re a regular MDM reader, you’ve undoubtedly seen our promotions for our 2023 Virtual M&A Summit, to be held Feb. 22- 23. And as luck would have it, we timed that event rather perfectly, given the avalanche of announced deals over the past several months, especially in January. In the first month of the year, we posted news of nearly 50 completed deals — which might make January 2023 the busiest month of M&A I’ve seen in my eight years covering the distribution sector as an editor. While none of these deals involving distributors would be considered a blockbuster by industry standards, the sheer volume of M&A has been staggering.
This activity means many executives and their management teams are tasked with integrating those acquired organizations in the months ahead. And when deals happen this often, it’s easy to view them as just a market grab and by the capabilities they add while ignoring the people side of a deal. All these deals involve organizations of people, many who have worked for the same, family-owned distributor for decades and now face the uncertainty and ambiguity feelings that can accompany having your company be acquired.
Leadership is tasked with minimizing that uncertainty component, and that’s exactly what our M&A Summit will advise upon. We’ve assembled executives from numerous distributors that have made waves in M&A in recent years, with those firms including: Motion, MSC Industrial Supply, Turtle & Hughes, Winsupply, Stellar Industrial, BlackHawk Industrial, SBP Holdings, US LBM, Kodiak Building Partners, Border States and more. These executives know the due diligence involved in identifying a fitting bolt-on and how to executive the integration of both the systems and procedures element of a deal and the people and culture element.
Of course, M&A isn’t the only topic we covered during January. We began the month with my case study on Werner Electric’s recent and ongoing digital evolution; I examined the potential labor ramifications of a proposed FTC bill that would end noncompete clauses; I analyzed the latest numbers behind inflation, freight costs, industrial output & demand in a Jan. 18 piece; and our last three Premium articles of the month decompressed the results of rotating questions from the 4Q22 Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey — covering topics of pricing’s impact on 2022 revenues; distributors’ 2023 labor and freight cost expectations and their biggest digital project for this year.