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Top 10 Distribution M&A Deals of 2010 (So Far)

Top 10 Distribution M&A Deals of 2010 (So Far)

December 6, 2010

This has been a much more active year on the M&A front for wholesale distribution than in the past two years. But, as our headline for this blog suggests, at the rate we've seen new deals in the final two months of this year, we may be able to publish a second list of top deals come January. Deal making seems to have taken off in the last quarter of this year, and reports suggest that 2011 will see continued consolidation in many industries.

This year, distressed companies continued to be a target, but acquirers also targeted top-notch companies that were able to post strong results during the recession relative to the rest of the industry. Larger distributors also used the past year to expand their product or service offerings via acquisition. Expect to see more of this in 2011.

Here are the biggest deals of 2010 in wholesale distribution across sectors, based on size and/or impact.

1. ABC Supply Buys Bradco Supply
This deal was a surprise to many in the industry and will move ABC Supply to the top of MDM's top building materials/construction distributors list. With the addition of Avenel, NJ-based Bradco, ABC Supply now has 479 locations in 44 states and the District of Columbia, and sales of more than $4 billion.

2. Wesco to Buy TVC Communications
The distributor, No. 4 on the list of MDM's top 25 electrical distributors,  will expand its product reach with this $246 million purchase of TVC, a broadband communications network infrastructure products distributor. The purchase also expands Wesco's reach geographically in international markets.

3. Industrial Distribution Group Buys Alamo Iron Works
Industrial Distribution Group bought Alamo Iron Works after the 135-year-old distributor filed for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection. IDG is No. 24 on MDM's list of top 40 industrial distributors.

4. Lawson Products to Sell Rutland Tool to MSC Industrial
Lawson bought Rutland Tool from Airgas in 2005. The company said that selling the business to MSC aligns with the company's strategy to focus on its Lawson MRO business, its most profitable and fastest-growing segment. Lawson Products is No. 21 on MDM's list of the top 40 industrial distributors, and MSC is No. 13 on the list.

5. Grainger Acquires Safety Services Provider
The acquisition supports the distributor's ongoing strategy of service expansion. Grainger is No. 3 on MDM's list of the top 40 industrial distributors.

6. Ongoing consolidation in the power transmission/fluid power/motion control markets. I've decided to put the following deals under the same heading, as they all have contributed to increased consolidation in this sector. See the top 10 PT/Bearing distributors.

7. Interline Brands Acquires CleanSource
Interline continued its focus on expanding in jan-san markets with its $60 million acquisition of CleanSource, San Jose, CA.

8. Consolidation in building materials/construction supplies due in part to a high number of distressed opportunities. Outside of the ABC Supply-Bradco deal, Stock Building Supply – now separate from Wolseley – picked up Bison Building Holdings and National Home Centers. And the fast-growing U.S. LBM Holdings was started when a private equity firm purchased three markets Stock slated for closure. The company continued to grow in 2010. Read: US LBM Holdings Emerges on Scene.

9. United Stationers Buys MBS Dev
United Stationers, a master distributor of industrial, office and jan-san products, bought the software company to help its customers better leverage technology.

10. Cardinal Health to Acquire Kinray for $1.3 billion
In the pharmaceutical distribution sector, the recent merger of two of the largest distributors was big news. Learn more about the impact and other news in this sector at Adam Fein's Drug Channels blog.

A blog on 2010 M&A would not be complete without mentioning the ongoing battle over Air Products' takeover bid for Airgas. Keep up on Airgas news related to the bid here.

Find all M&A articles on here.

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