Grainger to Acquire Cromwell - Modern Distribution Management

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Grainger to Acquire Cromwell

Company buying UK's largest independent MRO distributor for $484 million.

Grainger (NYSE: GWW), Chicago, IL, has agreed to acquire Cromwell Group (Holdings) Ltd., Leicester, England, and its subsidiaries for £310 million (US$484 million).

Founded in 1970, Cromwell is the largest independent MRO distributor in the United Kingdom, serving more than 35,000 industrial and manufacturing customers worldwide with more than 80,000 industrial products and employing more than 2,150. The company's sales for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31 are projected to be £283 million (US$441.9 million), with the vast majority of revenue coming from the UK.

Grainger called the UK and Germany two of the largest e-commerce markets in Europe, though adoption is lower than in the U.S. The company said it believes there is a compelling opportunity in the UK to grow its MRO online model, similar to what it has already accomplished in Japan with MonotaRO and in the U.S. with Zoro.

"We have demonstrated that when we have a broad product line and supply chain scale as we do in the United States, we can develop a profitable online model very quickly," said Grainger President and CEO Jim Ryan. "Cromwell is a great company with an outstanding product offering, strong management team and stable supply chain and will be a strong addition to Grainger."

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