Illustration 60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
Illustration 60886103 Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
60886103 / Kheng Ho To
While few large distributors have been sold, as you can see from the chart, the world’s two largest electrical distributors, Sonepar and Rexel, as well as WESCO, did acquire some companies to bolster their businesses in niche and regional markets, including the oil and gas business.

M&A Activity Slow for Top 200 Distributors

June 13, 2014
Is it the quiet before the storm, or just a chance for the big acquirers to digest their acquisitions of recent years? The past 18 months have been rather quiet on the merger and acquisition front for Electrical Wholesaling’s Top 200 electrical distributors, with relatively few of North America’s largest distributors being purchased.

Is it the quiet before the storm, or just a chance for the big acquirers to digest their acquisitions of recent years? The past 18 months have been rather quiet on the merger and acquisition front for Electrical Wholesaling’s Top 200 electrical distributors, with relatively few of North America’s largest distributors being purchased.

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According to EW data, no Top 200 distributors from last year’s ranking have been acquired yet in 2014. Acquisition activity in 2013 was rather light, too, as the only Top 200 distributors purchased were BJ Electric Supply Inc., Madison, Wis.; Leff Electric, Brooklyn Heights, Ohio; Electrical Wholesale of Utah Inc., Salt Lake City; and Mid-Island Electrical Supply, Commack, N.Y. Electrical Marketing’s editors estimate these companies did a combined total of approximately $252 million in 2013 sales.

According to EM sources, several large deals are currently under discussion. One of the larger acquirers said a current roadblock to acquisitions is the impact copper pricing is having on distributor inventory valuations, with the relatively lower copper costs depreciating businesses’ valuations.

While few large distributors have been sold, as you can see from the chart on page 2, the world’s two largest electrical distributors, Sonepar (see related story on this page), and Rexel, as well as WESCO, did acquire some companies to bolster their businesses in niche and regional markets, including the oil and gas business. The Milwaukee-based Edge Global Supply consortium of automation distributors also made some notable acquisitions in Brazil.