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The Sherwin-Williams purchase of Valspar is the biggest deal in paint industry history. What does it mean to professionals? Well, for starters in addition to propelling SW to the biggest biggie in North America, it has the scale to change the dynamic in the American architectural market. The Cleveland based paint giant already was number one in US architectural sales, now the distance from second and third national makers is significant.

The company has a history of integrating most paint maker acquisitions into the SW brand: Old Quaker in 1994; Mautz in 2001, Duron in 2004, as well as the 4 of the 6 brands formerly owned by Comex US/Canada: the four based in the States; Frazee, Kwal, Parker, and Color Wheel are now SW. The two Canadian brands, General and Para, maintain their identity to date. In addition, there are some other full line architectural brand purchases that SW has preserved and grown: Martin-Senour purchased way back in 1917; Dutch Boy in 1980; and Pratt & Lambert in 1995. Some other specialty brands have retained their original identity: Krylon (1990), Thompson Minwax (1996) and Purdy (2004 – actually several brush brands…Paint Sundry Brands Corporation).

On a world scale and by any business standard, SW is a colossal operation. According to company filings the Valspar deal vaults SW into the neighborhood of $15.6 billion and a profit of $2.8 billion. Nice place to reside…and SW now has almost 60,000 global employees. Company officials stated that the acquisition provides $280 million in synergizes, which translates to cuts…normally involving the purchased asset. In addition to the industrial wood coatings business sale ($420 million to comply with the FTC), Valspar will likely get a haircut…high and tight. The summer wiffle may be the new and beautiful Minneapolis headquarters building and some combination of employees probably weighted toward middle and upper management.

Professionals may want to consider a few of bottom line aspects from the deal. First, SW has even greater scale: raw material, resin buying power and access to all Valspar’s formulas and products. SW customers may have easier access to Valspar products and potentially SW may soon unveil new or improved products. Also, the scale leverage may enable SW to price compete in an unprecedented way. Second, SW has more product distribution than any other industry company in the US: big box, company stores and a vast dealer network. Professionals may soon be able to get product in a somewhat Starbucks-like way.

It is important for professionals to realize that the deal is not business as usual, this is a game changer. When the apple cart gets knocked over, it creates opportunities for the proactive, savvy paint and coatings operators. Either pick the apples up and pretend everything is the same, or figure out how to grow business with the new supply partner paradigm.

Today, there are only four owners of nationally distributed full-line architectural brands: Behr, Benjamin Moore, PPG and Sherwin Williams. (RPM International company products are sold throughout the US – and world – but no full-line, just specialty companies). In addition, merger mania is not over, the quickest track for manufacturer expansion is through acquisition so more brands will be looking.

In the News, there are some new product introductions: Scuff-X from Benjamin Moore, Lifestyle Finishes by Golden Paintworks and several different Reserve exterior formulations (designed for different weather regions) from Valspar. In color News, Dunn-Edwards provides a 2018 Color and Design Trends Report, while PPG Paints launches the Frank Lloyd Wright Color Palette. In addition, PPG Paints unveils three product upgrades: Perma-CretePitt-Flex, Speedhide Pro-EV Zero and Sun-Proof.

Have you heard about the floating trash dumps polluting the oceans? Humans should do a better job handling waste…check out: AkzoNobel has joined The Ocean Cleanup project. Sherwin-Williams Paint Shield has won a new product Edison Award for the invention of the first-ever microbicidal paint. “We are constantly motivated at Sherwin-Williams to find solutions to problems and push the boundaries of what paint can do,” said Steve Revnew, senior vice president of product innovation.

We have a great contest featured: Rainguard Water Sealers is giving 3 lucky winners the chance to win the Ultimate Racing Experience Sweepstakes.

Please send comments and corrections to

Mark Casale, Editor

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