WESCO International Inc., Pittsburgh, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire RS Electronics, Livonia, Mich., an 82-year-old distributor of electronic and electrical products serving the industrial, medical equipment, automotive and contract manufacturing end markets. The company has eight branches located in the Midwest and Southeast and forecasted 2011 sales of approximately $60 million. The deal is expected to close next month.

In a press statement, John Engel, WESCO's chairman and CEO, said, “Along with our acquisitions of Carlton Bates in 2005 and AA Electric in 2008, RS Electronics expands our industrial OEM customer base and electronic-based product offerings.”

RS Electronics is a distributor of electronic components, test and measurement instruments, as well as customized purchasing and inventory management services. Founded in 1929, RS Electronics has won many customer service awards over the years. Its customers include many of the world's largest commercial and industrial businesses, educational institutions and government agencies. RS Electronics' line card includes the names of some very familiar manufacturers of electronic/electrical products, including 3M, Alpha Wire, Belden, Fluke, General Cable, Molex, Panduit, Sola and W.H Brady. This acquisition is another example of WESCO acquisitions of distributors that focus on distinct end-user markets outside the mainstream electrical wholesaling industry.

The purchase caps an active year for WESCO, which also expanded coverage of western Canada's oil and energy customers with its October purchase of Brews Supply Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, and its March purchase of RECO llc, Cincinnati, a $25 million automation distributor. In 2010, the company purchased TVC, Annville, Pa., a $300 million, 300-employee distributor of broadband communications network infrastructure products serving the cable, telecommunications and satellite industries that operates 20 locations serving markets in the United States, Canada, Latin America and Europe, and Potelcom Supply, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, a single-branch operation with annual sales of approximately $25 million that focuses on the utility, industrial and government markets.

WESCO's consolidated net sales for its financial third quarter ending Sept. 30 were $1,580.4 million, compared to $1,324.6 million for the third quarter of 2010. The company's total 2010 annual sales were approximately $5.1 billion. WESCO employs approximately 6,800 people in more than 400 full-service branches in North America and international markets.