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W.W. Grainger,Chicago, said its Lab Safety Supply subsidiary has signed a definitive agreement to acquire AW Direct, Inc., Berlin, CT, a $28-million direct marketer of products to the $3 billion service vehicle accessories market. AW Direct sells general towing and work truck equipment and accessories to customers in the auto service, utilities, government, and construction markets. Grainger expects the acquisition to close, subject to standard conditions, in the 2005 first quarter and be accretive within a year.
AW Direct will be operated as a wholly owned subsidiary of Lab Safety Supply, the direct marketer of targeted, specialty businesses in the safety, industrial, environmental, and homeland security markets. Through a similar direct marketing model, AW Direct has successfully grown its business, and in 2004 had annual sales of $28 million.
"We plan to accelerate Lab Safety's growth by finding premier direct marketing companies to grow Lab Safety's market position," said Grainger Chairman and CEO Richard L. Keyser. "AW Direct offers access to new markets that we can serve with many of Lab Safety's existing products and targeted media. This transaction is similar to Lab Safety's successful acquisitions of Ben Meadows and Gempler's, which have provided new growth and diversification of Lab Safety's customer base."
AW Direct, Inc., is a privately held company. Lab Safety expects to retain many of AW Direct's management, customer service and other employees located at its facility in Berlin. Larry J. Loizzo, president of Lab Safety, said, "We are pleased with the addition of the AW Direct brand to our array of targeted specialty catalogs. They have provided their customers with a quality product offering and high levels of service. We look forward to working with the employees of AW Direct in our efforts to grow this business."