Rexel buys Norcal and Valley Electric: Rexel, Inc., Dallas, Texas, has agreed to buy Norcal Electric Supply, Inc., Redding, Calif., and Valley Electric Co. of Stockton, Calif. The acquisitions willgive Rexel an additional 16 branches and added annual sales of about $90 million. Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Norcal Electric is the 105th largest electrical distributor in the country, with 13 locations and 1998 sales of about $60 million, according to EW's 250 Biggest listing. Valley Electric Co., with three main branches and 1998 sales of about $30 million, is ranked as the nation's 151st largest electrical distributor on the 250 Biggest. The new companies would be known as Rexel Norcal Valley. Rexel also owns Pacific Electrical Supply, San Leandro, Calif., which it acquired in a 1997 acquisition.

Trade Service Corp. gets new owners: Trade Service Corp., San Diego, Calif., will get a substantial infusion of funding and a new lease on the future following an agreement with Boston Ventures Management, Inc., which gives the Boston-based private equity group majority ownership of the firm. Jim Simpson, whose family has owned Trade Service for almost 70 years, announced the sale of the company last week. Terms were not disclosed. Simpson will stay on as a consultant with Trade Service for an undisclosed period of time and will sit on the company's board as a minority.

Tony Dubreville, new president and chief executive officer and a minority shareholder of Trade Service, said the change of ownership came in recognition of the many opportunities open to a company with Trade Service's information resources and industry position, as well as Trade Services' need for additional capital to make full use of these advantages.

Dubreville, who has worked for Trade Service for 16 years, most recently as executive vice president, said corporate partnerships such as the one recently announced with American Express by the company's online marketplace, Ec-content.com, are the first step in a new direction for the company.

Home Depot to buy plumbing distributor: Home Depot has agreed to purchase Apex Supply Co., Atlanta, Ga., a plumbing distributor with 21 locations in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Apex sells plumbing products to builders of apartment complexes, office buildings and shopping centers. "These are customers we normally don't see in a Home Depot store," said Andy McKenna, senior vice president of strategic business development. In addition to its plumbing supplies, Apex is a distributor of heating and air-conditioning products. It also sells appliances and cabinets to professional builders.

A-B distributors commit to SourceAlliance: SourceAlliance.com, Rockwell Automation's attempt to be the electrical industry's leading e-business solution, has signed up virtually all Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley distributor locations in the U.S. The network of more than 550 locations gives SourceAlliance.com a platform for providing superior local service and delivery to customers seeking integrated supply and Web-enabled business transactions.

SourceAlliance.com will allow suppliers and distributors to offer an online source of products backed by local distributor support of customers in the industrial, commercial and institutional markets. SourceAlliance.com recently announced plans to move to Raleigh, N.C., by mid-January. The company will hire a team of more than 30 in the Raleigh headquarters to lead and staff positions in sales, information technology and operations to launch its Web business within the first quarter of 2000.