Subscribe to our newsletters & stay updated
One Equity Partners (OEP), a middle market private equity firm, has announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to sell Merfish United, a leading master distributor of tubular building products in the United States, to Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co., a diversified metal solutions provider and 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; PVF; 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," Leidner said.