Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Home Depot to Purchase Interline Brands; $1.625 Billion Deal Not Expected to Affect 700 Jacksonville Employees

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Home Depot to Purchase Interline Brands; $1.625 Billion Deal Not Expected to Affect 700 Jacksonville Employees

Article excerpt

Byline: David Bauerlein

A $1.625 billion deal announced Wednesday will result in The Home Depot purchasing Interline Brands, which employs about 700 people in the Jacksonville area and bases its corporate headquarters in downtown.

Interline CEO Michael Grebe said becoming part of Home Depot "is a tremendous growth opportunity" and he doesn't anticipate cutbacks in Interline's workforce in Jacksonville.

"We think the partnership with The Home Depot adds tremendous capabilities and skills to our business, so there are not plans for personnel reductions as a result of this transaction," he said. "This is all about growth - becoming more relevant, stronger and capable for our customers."

Interline boasts almost $2 billion in annual sales and employs about 4,500 with a distribution network across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The company grew out of Barnett Inc., which moved from the Westside to the downtown area as part of an economic development deal struck with the city in 1997.

Interline sells about 150,000 products for maintenance, repair and operations in the areas such as sanitation, janitorial, plumbing, hardware, tools, fixtures, heating and air conditioning, according to the company.

Grebe said Interline's array of products is similar to what shoppers can find at Home Depot's 2,270 retail stores.

Interline is able to deliver directly to customers and their job sites, using 500 trucks around the country on a daily basis. Home Depot officials say that will help the company bolster the service it gives to its special Pro customers, who are contractors and other professionals.

Home Depot CEO Craig Menear said in a statement that bringing on board the "seasoned leadership team" of Interline "will enhance our ability to serve the Pro - both in store and at any desired location outside of the store - driving significant value for our customers and shareholders. …

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