Demonstrates OEP’s Ability to Drive Transformative Growth Through Strategic Acquisitions
NEW YORK – One Equity Partners (“OEP”), a middle market private equity firm, today announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to sell Merfish United (the “Company”), a leading master distributor of tubular building products in the United States, to Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (NYSE:RS), a diversified metal solutions provider and the largest metals service center operator in North America.
Headquartered in Ipswich, Mass., Merfish United is a master distributor of carbon steel pipes, copper tubing, plastic pipe, electrical conduit and related products that are distributed to its independent wholesale distributor customers across a variety of end markets. OEP partnered with the founders of Merfish Pipe Holdings (“Merfish”) in December 2012 to create a platform for consolidating the sizeable and fragmented pipe and tube master distribution industry.
Under OEP’s ownership, Merfish completed multiple acquisitions that transformed the business. In 2016, Merfish completed the acquisition of Kloeckner Metal’s pipe distribution business, which doubled the footprint of Merfish, and the tuck-in acquisition of BBL, a standard pipe master distributor in the Northeastern U.S. In 2019, Merfish completed the transformational acquisition of United Pipe, a similarly sized master distributor of pipe and tube products that had a complementary geographic footprint and new product categories including plastic, copper and electrical.
As a result of OEP’s transformational acquisition strategy, Merfish United is now one of the largest master distributors of steel pipe and tube products in the United States and is well-positioned to benefit from the secular tailwinds driving demand across the steel, plastic, copper and electrical pipe and tube product segments.
“We identified Merfish as a unique business with strong growth prospects led by a talented management team,” said Jamie Koven, Senior Managing Director, OEP. “We’re proud of our work with Merfish United’s CEO Greg Leidner, Chairman Gerald Merfish and their team over the past eight years to create one of the largest master distributors of competitively priced standard pipe and tube products in North America.”
Today, the Company operates 12 distribution centers nationwide that provide products to the plumbing and heating; pipe, valve and fittings (PVF); heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); waterworks; fire protection; pool supply; lumber yard; fence; steel service center and electrical supply markets.
“We believe Merfish United is well-positioned for continued success as a critical supply chain partner for its customers. The Company’s breadth of product, regularly scheduled delivery routes on more than 65 trucks from twelve distribution centers, and ability to serve the market quickly make Merfish United a unique and attractive supplier,” said Matt Hughes, Managing Director, OEP.
“OEP has been an exceptional partner to Merfish United, from supporting operational improvements to driving a transformational acquisition strategy. We have benefitted greatly from their experience in building market-leading industrial businesses, and we are excited for our next chapter of growth,” said Leidner.
OEP was advised by Houlihan Lokey as an exclusive M&A advisor. KPMG served as a financial advisor. Dechert LLP served as legal counsel.
The transaction is expected to be completed within the next 60 days, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
About One Equity Partners:
OEP is a middle market private equity firm focused on the industrial, healthcare, and technology sectors in North America and Europe. The firm builds market-leading companies by identifying and executing transformative business combinations. OEP is a trusted partner with a differentiated investment process, a broad and senior team, and an established track record generating long-term value for its partners. Since 2001, the firm has completed more than 300 transactions worldwide. OEP, founded in 2001, spun out of JP Morgan in 2015. The firm has offices in New York, Chicago, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. For more information, please visit www.oneequity.com.
About Merfish United:
Merfish United is a leading master distributor of tubular building products in the United States. Headquartered in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Merfish United serves 47 U.S. states through its twelve strategically located distribution centers. Merfish United’s broad product offering includes full lines of steel pipe, copper tubing, plastic pipe, electrical conduit and related products for the commercial, residential, municipal and industrial building markets.