When Motion revealed plans to buy another large distributor, Kaman Distribution Group (KDG), for $1.3 billion on December 16, it astounded the industrial supply market. On January 3, the KDG acquisition was completed.
Motion’s focus on key industrial goods and services, as well as its expanding technical and automation areas, is greatly increased by KDG. KDG is a top industrial distributor and solutions supplier for power transmission, automation, and fluid power with roughly 1,700 employees and more than 50,000 clients.
Mike Hockett, managing editor of Industrial Distribution, sat down with Motion president Randy Breaux to learn more about the origins of this historic agreement and what it means for Motion moving ahead.
Industrial Distribution: Motion has certainly been no stranger to acquisitions in the past few years, but Kaman Distribution Group was on a whole other level. Can you take me through how this deal came about, as far as what attracted Motion to KDG and how those conversations evolved?
Randy Breaux: Thanks for having me. About every five years, you know, we like to make a sizable acquisition that raises the bar with regard to revenue and value creation. Anytime we consider an acquisition, we consider strategic fit, cultural fit and talent that comes with the company. It’s not easy to find companies that check all the boxes, but KDG certainly did. We knew that KDG would do this for us. So we approached Littlejohn, who was the private equity owner of KDG, to see if they might be interested in selling, which to our surprise, they did. That led us to some quick diligence and eventually a deal here in early January.
Product Availability and Service Capabilities
ID: KDG significantly expands Motion’s product availability and services capabilities. What product or services areas would you say this acquisition expands the most?
Breaux: Well, as you know, most of the acquisition activity we’ve had in the past few years has been in automation and conveyance. So those specific business areas—in the case of KDG—they really had three business units. If you look at it, they had the Kaman Industrial Technologies traditional bearings and power transmission business, which lines up nicely with our core branch business; Kaman Fluid Power, which lines up nicely with our Conveyance Solutions, Hydraulics and Industrial Hose business; and Kaman Automation, which fits well with our Motion Automation Intelligence business.
So all three of these areas will benefit Motion from an acquisition standpoint, and they’ll also benefit our customers. So that was what was attractive for us. And I think that’s where we will see the most synergy and the most activity in the acquisition going forward.
Motion and KDG Synergy
ID: Kaman Distribution brings about 1,700 employees and around 200 locations to Motion’s footprint. With a deal of this size, how long do you expect the migration process to take in terms of KDG getting in sync with Motion’s operations, as well as implementing Motion’s culture across KDG?
Breaux: Well, the integration plan’s going to take three years. That’s what we’ve laid out. We will have immediate sales synergies across the business that will occur and, in fact, already have some beginning to happen. It’s really exciting for the employees and the customers alike. And we’re very fortunate that we don’t have a lot of customer overlap. If you look at it, KDG focused more on the mid-size to smaller customers, whereas Motion focused more on the larger customers with a national footprint. Operationally, we believe there are many opportunities to combine our sales forces’ available inventory, our distribution and fulfillment centers and even more to provide customers more choices, more products and better service in my book. Now, that’s a win for all of us.
As it relates to implementing the Motion culture across KDG: I mentioned earlier, KDG has a very similar culture to Motion’s. They have a lot of great people who are focused on providing customers with not just products, but also solutions to their problems—very similar and in step with Motion’s culture. Our focus in the coming months will be to bring everyone together as one Motion team with one vision and one strategy. We’re up for the challenge, and we very much look forward to the continued evolution of Motion, continuing to be the premier industrial solutions provider in the industry.
Motion’s Recent Acquisition History
● Jan. 3, 2022: Kaman Distribution Group (Bloomfield, CT)
● Sept. 1, 2020: Applied Machine and Motion Control, Inc. (Park Hills, KY)
● Aug. 1, 2020: TRC Hydraulics (Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada), F&L Industrial Solutions, Inc. (San Diego, CA)
● Oct. 1, 2019: The Fluid Power House (Ontario, Canada)
● July 1, 2019: Remaining 65% stake of Inenco (Sydney, Australia)
● March 1, 2019: Axis New England and Axis New York (Danvers, MA)
● Oct. 1, 2018: Hydraulic Supply Company (Miami, FL)
● Nov. 1, 2017: Apache, Inc. (Cedar Rapids, IA)
● Aug. 1, 2017: Numatic Engineering (Los Angeles, CA)
● Oct. 3, 2016: BRAAS Company (Eden Prairie, MN)
● Aug. 1, 2016: OBBCO Safety & Supply (Chesapeake, VA)
● May 1, 2016: Colmar Belting Company (South Boston, MA)
● March 1, 2016: Epperson and Company (Tampa, FL), Missouri Power Transmission (St. Louis, MO)
Find the official KDG acquisition press release here.