UK/USA: Private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has announced an agreement to acquire UK refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler Wolseley for £308m.
The deal with US group Ferguson will see Wolseley become an independent company wholly owned by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) funds and management.
Ferguson announced its intention to spin off Wolseley UK, a leading specialist distributor of plumbing, heating, climate control, pipe and infrastructure and utility products, in September last year.
Wolseley currently operates through 542 branches and three distribution centres. It has around 5000 employees.
Once the deal is completed, Bruno Deschamps, operating advisor to CD&R funds and former COO of Ecolab, will serve as chairman of Wolseley, with current Wolseley CEO Simon Oakland continuing in his role.
The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year.
Founded in 1978, CD&R has offices in New York and London. It has been investing in Europe for more than 20 years, acquiring 19 businesses representing more than $6bn of capital.
“Wolseley is a market-leading distribution platform in an industry where CD&R has extensive prior experience and success, and we believe it represents a compelling opportunity to invest at an inflection point and work with a highly credible management team to drive operating improvements and accretive M&A,” commented CD&R partner Christian Rochat.
“The disruption of the past ten months has demonstrated the constructive role that we can play providing both capital and operating capabilities to support good businesses. We have a great appreciation for the strengths of Wolseley and look forward to partnering with the leadership team,” added CD&R co-president David Novak.
“We believe that Wolseley, as a freestanding enterprise, can accelerate growth, enhance customer service, and create rewarding career opportunities for our colleagues,” commented Wolseley CEO Simon Oakland. “CD&R has extensive experience supporting branch-based networks like ours and shares our vision to continue to build Wolseley’s entrepreneurial culture and relentless focus on customer satisfaction.”
In 2020, CD&R carved-out White Cap, a leading distributor of specialty construction products, from HD Supply and completed a partnership investment in SIG plc, a UK-listed building products distributor.