Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) has entered into a definitive agreement to combine Essendant and Genuine Parts Co.’s S.P. Richards business. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the boards of Essendant and GPC, is expected to be tax-free to the companies’ respective shareholders. Together, Essendant and S.P. Richards will form a stronger, more competitive business products distributor with greater scale and service capabilities and an enhanced ability to support customers, according to the two companies.
Bringing together leadership and operational expertise from Essendant and S.P. Richards and combining the best elements of each business’ operations will create an even stronger company with the ability to harness each organization’s unique strengths and capitalize on opportunities to create value, including:
- Greater resources to support and partner with the independent dealer channel and resellers in other sales channels, and invest to drive enhanced value for customers, consumers and shareholders;
- Optimized product assortment of branded and private-label products across a broad set of categories;
- Enhanced capability to develop and offer innovative solutions to our customers, including value-added marketing and analytics to drive demand; and
- Consolidated distribution network with greater efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain.
Ric Phillips, Essendant president and CEO, who will lead the combined company, said, “By bringing together two businesses with long histories, complementary product lines and a shared customer-centric approach, we are creating a much stronger, better positioned company. Combining resources, leadership and operational expertise from both teams, and the unique strengths of both businesses will enhance our ability to compete and help our customers succeed in the face of a rapidly evolving market. In addition, through increased scale, improved service capabilities and an enhanced financial profile – including significant cost savings, increased free cash flow and a stronger balance sheet – we will be able to drive more profitable growth and create meaningful value for shareholders.”
Paul Donahue, GPC president and CEO, added, “This transaction is the result of a comprehensive process to maximize the value of S.P. Richards and represents a key step in the execution of Genuine Parts Co.’s long-term strategy by enabling us to increase our focus on our larger, core global automotive and industrial businesses. In addition, the merger provides substantial upside to Genuine Parts Co. shareholders through the significant value proposition of the combined company that will be better equipped to succeed in a dynamic and changing marketplace. We have tremendous respect for Essendant and believe the combination with S.P. Richards’ strong, diversified business and talented team will bring together two highly complementary cultures with a shared commitment to serving customers. For employees, the new company will have the scale and depth to compete more effectively, and we look forward to supporting the S.P. Richards and Essendant teams in facilitating a seamless integration.”
The transaction creates a company with pro forma 2017 net sales of approximately $7 billion, $300 million in Adjusted EBITDA, 4.2 percent Adjusted EBITDA margins. The two companies said the combined company will have a stronger and more flexible balance sheet, which will enable it to reduce leverage, invest in the business and provide value to shareholders.
In addition to creating a platform with greater scale and the enhanced ability to serve customers, the combination is expected to unlock more than $75 million in annual run-rate cost synergies and more than $100 million in working capital improvements. The cost synergies will primarily be driven by sourcing, supply chain and selling, general and administrative efficiencies. The combined company expects 90 percent of the cost synergies to be realized within two years post-closing and to incur less than $50 million in one-time cash costs to realize the synergies.
The transaction combining Essendant and S.P. Richards is structured as a Reverse Morris Trust, in which GPC will separate S.P. Richards into a standalone company and spin off that standalone company to GPC shareholders, immediately followed by the merger of Essendant and the spun-off company. The transaction implies a valuation of S.P. Richards of approximately $680 million, reflecting the value of the Essendant shares to be issued at closing plus one-time cash payments to GPC of approximately $347 million, subject to adjustments at closing.
Upon closing, GPC shareholders will own approximately 51 percent and Essendant shareholders will own approximately 49 percent of the combined company on a diluted basis, with approximately 80 million diluted shares expected to be outstanding. The transaction is expected to be tax-free to Essendant and GPC shareholders.
The transaction is expected to close before the end of 2018, subject to regulatory and Essendant shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Upon close of the transaction, the combined company, which will be called Essendant, will be led by Essendant President and CEO Ric Phillips, and Janet Zelenka will serve as chief financial officer. S.P. Richards President and CEO Rick Toppin will be appointed chief operating officer of the combined company. Additional leadership roles will be mutually determined as part of the integration process.
Charles K. Crovitz, current chairman of the board of Essendant, will serve as chairman of the board of the combined company. He will be joined by three Essendant-appointed directors, four GPC-appointed directors and four directors appointed by mutual agreement.
The combined company will maintain headquarters in both Deerfield, Illinois, and Atlanta.