Build.com, a business unit of British plumbing and heating products retailer and distributor Wolseley Plc has completed its acquisition of small appliances and web-only merchant Living Direct Inc., sources tell Internet Retailer.
Build.com, No. 79 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, and Living Direct, No. 283, have yet to acknowledge that a deal is complete and didn’t return calls from Internet Retailer seeking a comment. But two sources tell Internet Retailer that Build.com and Living Direct signed the agreement earlier this week. “It’s a done deal,” one source says. The sources did not know the purchase price.
Sources tell Internet Retailer that Build.com, which generated annual web sales of $525.0 million in 2014, has been in serious discussion with Living Direct for the past several weeks. Industry sources also say Build.com was considering an acquisition of Living Direct as a way to add more niche products to Build.com’s portfolio of e-commerce sites, such as FaucetsDirect.com, and compete more effectively against bigger omnichannel hardware and home improvements retailers including The Home Depot Inc. and Lowes Cos. Inc.
Of particular interest to Build.com was Living Direct’s online inventory of about 7,000 SKUs, some private-label products. “Build.com thinks they can grow that business,” a source who asked not to be identified tells Internet Retailer.
Build.com’s parent company has a history of growing through acquisitions, as does one of its chief U.S. subsidiaries Ferguson , a wholesale distributor of plumbing supplies, pipes, valves and fittings, heating and cooling equipment, and related products such as waterworks and appliances and tools and safety equipment and fire protection equipment.
Wolseley acquired Build.com for an undisclosed price in 2011 and continues to make other acquisitions of online retailing companies. In March Wolseley acquired BathEmpire.com, a British bathroom products web merchant for an undisclosed price. BathEmpire has annual web sales of about 26 million pounds ($39.9 million) and was launched in 2009. “This acquisition gives Wolseley a strong position in the United Kingdom business-to-consumer online bathroom market and a scalable platform to support future growth,” Wolseley says.
Ferguson also has been making recent acquisitions. In August Ferguson Fire & Fabrication, a unit of Ferguson and a distributor of fire protection systems, acquired of Central Pipe & Supply’s Mobile, parts fabricator based in Mobile, Ala., for an undisclosed price.