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Essendant buys transportation industry distributor Nestor Sales

July 15, 2015 02:17 PM
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Essendant Inc., a distributor of business and industrial products, has agreed to pay $38.5 million in an all-cash deal to acquire Nestor Sales LLC, a multichannel distributor of tools, equipment and supplies for the transportation industry, Essendant said today.

The deal follows Essendant’s $130 million acquisition last year of MEDCO, a wholesaler and distributor of power tools and equipment that it sells online as well as offline through sales reps to the automotive market. The two acquisitions underlie Essendant’s efforts to expand beyond its traditional market of distributing office and industrial supplies to other distributors and resellers. Last month, the company changed its name from United Stationers Inc., with the new Essendant moniker intended to indicate its combined strategy of providing essential business and industrial products and helping its client wholesalers and resellers “ascend” into more sales and better customer service.

“Nestor accelerates our growth in the automotive aftermarket and complements our MEDCO and overall industrial business, while also providing access to new customer segments,” says Robert B. Aiken Jr., interim president and CEO of Essendant. Aiken succeeded Cody Phipps as Essendant’s top executive in May.

In addition to distributing office and industrial products, Essendant also helps many of its client companies deploy and operate e-commerce sites to sell to their own business customers. Nestor operates several e-commerce sites that will “benefit from the collective e-commerce expertise of the Essendant organization” alongside the MEDCO unit, an Essendant spokesman says.

Nestor, based in Largo, Fla., sells power tools, equipment and supplies to various segments of the transportation industry, including manufacturers, fleet service companies, and retailers involved in marine and trucking forms of transportation.

Nestor’s business units operate under the names Ace Tool Co./ETW Corp., Alco Tool Supply, and AIM Supply, with respective B2B e-commerce sites at AceToolCo.com, AlcoToolSupply.com and AIMSupply.com.

Nestor had 2014 sales of more than $70 million, distributing more than 24,000 products. Its product lines include its private-label Nesco line of tools as well as products from other manufacturers.

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