Anixter Vies to Be Top Distributor With $420M Tri-Ed Buy

Tri-Ed is one of security’s largest wholesale distributors with more than 600 employees and approximately $570 million in sales the 12 months ending June 2014.

Earlier this year, Anixter attempted to sell itself but was unable to find buyers at the $115-per-share price it sought. Soon after, it went on the offensive. In a statement announcing the Tri-Ed deal, the company said the acquisition will accelerate the pace of growth in its security business, which is considered one of the firm’s strategic growth initiatives.

“Our customers will benefit from a broader set of products and solutions in the areas of video, access control, fire/life-safety and intrusion detection,” Anixter CEO Bob Eck said in a statement announcing the deal. “The combination brings Anixter’s expertise in IP video surveillance to Tri-Ed’s customers.”

Along with IT proficiencies and other distribution expertise, Tri-Ed’s mostly small to medium-sized customers will also benefit from Anixter’s Infrastructure Solutions Lab, a UL-certified facility that tests and demonstrates integrated networking and security solutions in advance of deployment.

“Anixter is not just carrying parts but very often testing what parts work together,” says Sandy Jones, principal of Chardon, Ohio-based Sandra Jones & Co., a consulting and business support and services provider and a member of SSI’s editorial board. “On more complex projects, if that activity takes place at the warehouse versus on the jobsite, it saves cost and it also creates efficiencies.”

Anixter’s deal for Tri-Ed brings about further consolidation in the security distribution business. Tri-Ed itself snapped up several smaller distributors in recent years following its merger with Northern Video Systems in 2010 when both distributors were acquired by Brazos Private Equity Partners.

What used to be a fairly fragmented distribution industry has evolved to become concentrated at the top end now that Anixter has made a play to join ADI as a leading supplier. Not all industry observers see this development entirely as a good thing for dealers and integrators.

“Basically, competition always supports better availability of products and pricing. That is true with any industry,” says Marshall Marinace, president of Yorktown Heights, N.Y.-based Marshall Alarm Systems, and recently instated president of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). “When you take the No. 2 and 3 suppliers in our industry and combine them to compete to be No. 1, essentially you are making it a less competitive market. As a result, I think you will see trends where availability of equipment will lessen and prices could increase. Time will tell.”

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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