Spring was a hotbed of deals and acquisitions among dealers, including arguably the most significant transactions since ProBuild's creation in 2006. The ProBuild deal created what was America's biggest LBM operation. But once the legalities are formalized, that crown will be handed over to ABC Supply, the former No. 2 dealer on the ProSales 100, following its acquisition of former No. 4 Bradco Supply. This comes despite ProBuild's continued growth through acquisition of an old rival in Washington state, Oso Lumber.

Meanwhile, Stock Building Supply is in the process of absorbing No. 16 Bison Building Materials as well as No. 26 National Home Centers, while 14th-ranked E.C. Barton & Co. sold seven of its facilities in southwestern Missouri to No. 19 Meeks Lumber and Hardware.

All these changes–plus the data for Golden State Lumber, which arrived after May's issue went to press–has altered the top of the ProSales 100 list so much it makes sense for us to produce a new top 20. You'll find that list on page 13, along with a roundup on page 12 that shows how extremely busy a time it has been for M&A dealers.

ABC Acquiring Bradco

The agreement between ABC Supply and Bradco Supply will create an LBM distributor that's nearly 30% bigger than the No. 1 company on the ProSales 100, with roughly 480 locations in 45 states and combined sales of more than $4.1 billion.

In the latest ProSales 100 issued in May, Beloit, Wis.-based ABC ranked second overall with total 2009 sales of $2.68 billion while Avenel, N.J.-based Bradco ranked fourth with total 2009 sales of $1.46 billion.

The acquisition was expected to close by the end of June, following regulatory approval, the companies said. Until the closing, Bradco's 129 branches were to continue operating independently of ABC.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"This is an exciting time for all Bradco constituents: our customers, our vendors and especially our employees," said Larry Stoddard, Bradco's CEO. "The combination with ABC will create an even stronger company with exciting growth prospects and a continued focus on customer service." The Segal family, which founded Bradco, sold a majority stake in the company in July 2008 to Advent International, a private equity firm.

"The addition of Bradco is consistent with our mission to be the best distributor of exterior building products and one of the very best places to work in America," said David Luck, ABC Supply's president and CEO. "We will welcome the addition of Bradco into the ABC family and look forward to the opportunities that this acquisition will create for our associates and the enhanced value it brings to our customers."

In an interview with ProSales earlier this year (see "Back to the Future," May issue), ABC said it had set goals of reaching 500 locations with more than $5 billion in sales. By obtaining Bradco, the company is now well on its way toward reaching those goals. But with locations overlapping in some markets, it remains to be seen how many former Bradco locations will remain open once the acquisition is complete.

Stock Buys Bison, National Home Centers

In the second-largest move this spring, one that combines two top 20 companies on the ProSales 100, No. 5 Stock Building Supply Holdings LLC is buying the assets of No. 16 Bison Building Holdings, the Houston-based dealer that has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since last June.

The deal adds Bison's eight Houston-area locations to the three that Stock already had in the market. Metro Houston is generally regarded as one of the country's most robust housing markets. "The combination of Bison and Stock creates a clear market leader in Houston with the breadth of capabilities and combined talent to deliver a compelling value proposition to our customers," Stock CEO Joe Appelmann said in a statement.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Stock intends to buy Bison's assets around June 29 under Section 363 of the federal bankruptcy code's Chapter 11. Chapter 11 typically gives a company protection from creditors while it reorganizes–a process that Stock itself used last May and June, when The Gores Group bought 51% of Stock from its previous majority owner, Britain's Wolseley Plc. Section 363 enables a purchaser to buy the assets of a company in Chapter 11 free and clear of any liens or encumbrances. The liens and encumbrances then get paid out of the net proceeds of the sale.

The news follows Stock's previous acquisition this year of National Home Centers, the Arkansas-based dealer that ranks 26th on this year's ProSales 100 and was also in Chapter 11. Stock posted sales of $1.43 billion last year, down 54% from 2008. The move made Arkansas the 20th market in which Stock operates nationwide.

Bison was 16th on the ProSales 100 list with 2009 sales of $214 million. Based on its bankruptcy court filings, the company has accumulated more than $5.5 million in net losses since it entered Chapter 11 last June 28. Bison attributes its descent into Chapter 11 to its expansion along the Interstate 35 corridor in 2005 and then into Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio and New Mexico. When the housing market soured, Bison retrenched to its core Texas business in metro Houston and encountered trouble unwinding its ventures outside of Texas.

ProBuild Takes Over Oso

ProBuild has bought the assets of Oso Lumber of Arlington, Wash., the No. 56 company on the 2009 ProSales 100. The deal, which closed on April 30, removes one of ProBuild's biggest competitors in western Washington and enables it to better serve markets north of Seattle.

Oso has six locations. It also makes trusses and wall panels, optimizes framing, and distributes windows and millwork. The company reported sales of $67 million in 2008, down 27% from the previous year, and has shrunk from nine locations in 2007.

"The addition of Oso will provide tremendous benefit and value to builders serving the western Washington market," ProBuild CEO Paul Hylbert said in a statement. "By acquiring an outstanding company like Oso, ProBuild can combine its national scope with Oso's local expertise and insight to offer customers unparalleled customer service and value."