Hughes Supply Inc., Orlando, has acquired the remaining interest, 51%, of the online distributor, Bestroute.com LLC. Previously, Hughes Supply owned 49% of Bestroute.com, which will operate as a subsidiary of Hughes Supply. The completed acquisition brings Hughes' total investment in Bestroute.com to approximately $23 million. Hughes Supply has issued approximately 723,000 new shares to fund the acquisition, its initial investment having been paid in cash.

"Just as when we made our initial investment in this company nine months ago, Bestroute.com continues to be a very attractive e-commerce opportunity in its own right," said David H. Hughes, chairman and chief executive officer of Hughes Supply.

Hughes said that given Bestroute.com's relatively low overhead and operating costs, he believes the company can "achieve break-even and move into attractive levels of profitability at very low market penetration rates." During 2001 and 2002, Bestroute.com will be investing heavily in moving into its next vertical markets, sales generation, and brand recognition," he added.

Bestroute.com's president, Mike Gambino, will join the Hughes executive team.