Former Wolseley CEO to lead Morrison Supply

Morrison Supply Co., the fourth-largest distributor of plumbing and HVAC supplies in the United States, has sold a majority share to private equity firm Advent International.

Founded in 1917, Morrison is now the largest distributor of plumbing supplies in the southwestern United States. The company has 77 branches and showrooms, located in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Kansas. Morrison has several lines of business, including plumbing, heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC), industrial pipes, valves & fittings, oil & gas and waterworks.

Morrison Supply intends to use the new funding to expand its presence in the plumbing and HVAC supply market, particularly in its current market. Chip Hornsby, the former CEO of Wolseley, will join the company as CEO and will lead Morrison in the next phase of its expansion.

Wolseley is the parent company of Ferguson Enterprises, one of the largest plumbing and HVAC supplier in the United States and a competitor of Morrison Supply.

“Morrison’s core strength is the quality of its people,” Hornsby said. “And we believe this transaction will be very positive for our employees, as the company’s expansion should lead to new and exciting opportunities for our people and their families. Equally, our vendor partners and customers stand to gain from our growth and financial strength.”

Scott Sangalli, Morrison’s former CEO and principal owner for the past 25 years, will continue as an investor in the company. Darrell Hawkins and Charlie Allen will continue in their roles as president and chief financial officer, respectively. Additionally, they will remain investors in the company and deeply committed to its ongoing success and expansion.

Advent operating partner Wes Clark will join the company as non-executive chairman. Clark is the former president and chief operating officer of W.W. Grainger, a leading $8 billion distributor of industrial maintenance and repair supplies. He also served as CEO of Morton Salt, the largest U.S. producer and distributor of sodium derivatives.

Advent has been an active investor in building products, distribution and construction supply for more than 20 years and has invested in more than 20 companies in these sectors. In its most recent transaction in the space, Advent acquired Bradco Supply in 2008 and subsequently merged it with ABC Supply in 2010 to create the largest U.S. distributor of roofing supplies and complementary exterior building materials. Since its founding in 1984, Advent has raised $26 billion in private equity capital and, through its buyout programs, has invested in more than 270 companies valued at more than $60 billion in 35 countries.