2015 was an active year for M&A in wholesale distribution, with scores of small, midsized and large deals helping to reshape numerous sectors, most notably building materials and construction along with gases and welding.
Here are some of the top M&A deals of 2015, based not just on dollar amount but also on their impact on the industry and/or sector:
- Air Liquide Acquires Airgas
When Paris-based Air Liquide agreed in November to acquire Airgas Inc. for $10.3 billion – a deal valued at $13.4 billion, including debt – it created the largest industrial gases and welding hardgoods distributor in the world.
- Builders FirstSource Acquires ProBuild
Builders FirstSource Inc.'s $1.6 billion purchase of ProBuild Holdings LLC, announced in April, united two of the largest building materials companies in the U.S. ProBuild was No. 2 and Builders FirstSource was No. 7 on the sector's 2015 MDM Market Leaders list.
- Anixter Acquires Power Solutions Division of HD Supply
HD Supply Holdings shed another division when it sold Power Solutions to Anixter International Inc. in July for $825 million. The deal helped HD Supply streamline its operations while Anixter enhanced its "competitive position in the electrical wire and cable business," said President and CEO Bob Eck.
- Interline Brands Sells to The Home Depot
July saw Interline Brands Inc., a distributor and direct marketer of broad-line MRO products to the facilities maintenance end-market, agree to be acquired by The Home Depot for $1.6 billion, giving the retail big box giant a sizable B2B presence.
- Beacon Roofing Acquires Roofing Supply Group
Beacon Roofing Supply Inc.'s acquisitive year was highlighted by its $1.1 billion purchase in July of Roofing Supply Group, another deal that united two companies ranked on the 2015 MDM Market Leaders list for building materials and construction – Beacon Roofing at No. 4 and Roofing Supply Group at No. 10.
- Stock Building Supply and BMHC Agree to Merge
The merger of Stock Building Supply Holdings Inc. and Building Materials Holding Corp., announced in June, formed a building materials distribution services and solutions company with an implied pro forma enterprise value of $1.5 billion and geographic reach across the U.S.
In addition to notable deals, some M&A trends emerged during 2015 that could carry forward into 2016, including the rampant consolidation in building materials and construction, as evidenced by the deals mentioned above; a very active year for Bunzl, especially with safety acquisitions; and more companies looking to streamline their operations through spin-offs.