Insights into the forces shaping our industry.

Who’s Next – Wire & Cable

Industry Commentary

Our industry has yet to see a slowdown in regards to mergers and acquisitions. But will COVID-19 affect current and future M&As? Companies are adjusting and proceeding using online meeting technology to fill the in-person void. Wexpect M&A deals will continue and be approached the same way with virtual meetings. We are treating this situation similarly to the last recession.  

Between 2007 – 2008, Sonepar, Viking Electric, CED, REXEL, USESI, among a few other distributors didn’t let their acquisition business falter. During the 2008 recession, companies managed to complete acquisition deals; and we trust organizations today will carry on despite the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Among power distribution, electrical distribution, wire/cable and lighting; our records show that there were well over 60 M&As in 2019. Legrand, Emerson and Siemens acquired manufacturers across three of the verticals, with Acuity Brands taking over in lighting. Companies strategizing to increase market shareexpand markets served, etc 

Here’s a review of M&As over the last few years (primarily focused on 2017 – now). 

Wire and Cable 

Wire and Cable (and Tool) companies tend to acquire one or two companies a year; in general, they do not acquire nearly as much as the rate as a company like Emerson. The more notable acquisition was Prysmian of General Cable in 2018. In 2018, Southwire also grew its wire in lighting business with the acquisition of Garvin and ProBuilt Lighting. Emerson was heavier in acquiring tools companies in 2018. They acquired Greenlee and Klauke Tools and Test. Klein Tools also expanded its safety products business with the acquisition of Ergodyne in St. Paul, Minnesota. Milwaukee Tools acquired Imperial Blades to widen its multi-tool blade and accessory offerings in 2018. There were other “smaller” buys in 2018. 

Again, as mentioned in lighting and power distribution, Legrand purchased companies in this vertical in 2017 and 2019. In 2017, Legrand acquired ACFO systems to expand their cable management and cabinets solutions; and they purchased Connectrac last year, a cable management solutions provider that brings power, data and communications to commercial interior applications. In 2017, Zekelman also acquired Western Tube & Conduit to expand its offerings in steel and aluminum electrical conduit. Littelfuse had a 2017 and 2018 purchase. In 2017, Littelfuse acquired the assets of US Sensor Corp to expand their product offerings in thermistors, RTDs and assemblies. Littelfuse also acquired IXYS Corporation in 2018 to widen its solutions in medium to high voltage power semiconductors.  

In 2019, there were at least two companies that acquired two companies otherwise it was fairly quiet for wire and cable. Atkore purchased Cor-Tek, a manufacturer of PVC conduit and duct products from Rocky Mountain Colby Pipe Company; and the assets of United Structural Products, which manufactures welded aluminum and engineered-to-order cable trays. NSi dipped into the datacom and telecom market with the purchase of SullStar Technologies, which designs tools and connectors. NSi also expanded its hand tool lines with the acquisition of Platinum Tools; and Connecticut-based Bridgeport Fittings, which manufactures electrical fittings for cable and conduit installations. One-Pull Wire and Cable Solutions also acquired a bundled cable manufacturer, Quik-Pull in 2019 to expands its offerings in spiral configurations, insulated multi-conductor wire bundles and custom UL-rated tray cables.  

CLICK HERE to read about more M&As in electrical distribution, power distribution and lighting

So far in 2020 

There has been some M&A movement the first quarter of 2020Power distribution, electrical distribution and lighting has already seen some noteworthy purchases. Earlier this month, Cooper Lighting became a business unit of Signify and Legrand’s unexpected acquisition of Chicago lighting manufacturer Focal Point. Ecosense just expanded its LED lines with the purchase of Soraa, a California-based LED designer and manufacturer. 

ABB, Eaton, Danfoss A/S and IES Holdings have started off their years strong with at least one acquisition. ABB solidified its purchase of Cyclone Controls in early March. Eaton purchased Power Distribution Inc. Expanding its data center power distribution and monitoring solution; and in turn, Eaton sold its Hydraulics Business to Danish industrial company, Danfoss A/S.   

Wire and cable’s saw a change in PE firm ownership with Odyssey Investment Partners’ acquisition of NSi from Blue Sea Capital.  

The Anixter war heated up in January until Wesco’s big and final bid was acceptedWinsupply already has two acquisitions under its belt with the purchases of Morgan Brothers and Rosen Supply to expand in the plumbing and heating market.  

If the past few years and the recession are any indication, electrical distributors will continue to acquire in the next three quarters. M&A deals may slow down in quarter two as we all work out the kinks of our current situation with the Novel Coronavirus; but we expect business to continue as usual.