As part of the Wayne, Pennsylvania-based AD buying and marketing group’s commitment to ensuring a strong future for independent distributors, AD and SafetyNetwork announced the organizations are pursuing a possible merger in the spring of 2020, it revealed.

This partnership, AD explained, would bring together two organizations to create AD’s only safety-dedicated division focused on the growth of independent distributors that specialize in the safety market.

Marisol Fernandez, AD’s president of the Industrial and Safety – U.S. Division, said the group is excited about the prospect of this merger.

“SafetyNetwork members are long-time, well-respected leaders in the safety space, and bring tremendous scale to our already growing safety segment,” she said.

SafetyNetwork CEO Mike Smeaton said AD’s programs and services will bring tremendous value to his group’s members and supplier-partners. 

“I’m really looking forward to introducing our members to AD-unique programs such as eCommerce, AD Rewards and market planning,” he stated. “These offerings serve to make our members stronger, distinguish them from their competitors, and meet their growth objectives.”

Receiving approval by both AD and SafetyNetwork boards to move forward with the process is an excellent signal, AD Chairman and CEO Bill Weisberg said.

“I appreciate the confidence both boards have shown with their contingency approvals last month,” Weisberg said. “They are showing exceptional leadership for the betterment of all members.  The benefits they see coming from increased scale are compelling and include increased purchasing power, expanded services, access to a larger supplier base and sustainability. In areas where industrial and safety should collaborate, we will collaborate. In areas where they should remain separate, we will maintain separation.”

David Ruggles is the president of third-generation family-owned Martin Supply and serves as chair of AD’s Industrial & Safety divisional board of directors.

“As an active participant in AD’s governance, I can say firsthand that AD is a member-driven, collaborative organization that truly believes in the idea that together, we win,” Ruggles said. “The Industrial Safety Division board is supportive of this addition and we’re looking forward to welcoming Mike and his team, and their members, to the AD community.”

SafetyNetwork’s Board Chair and Quest Safety President Sam Yadav highlighted the benefits a prospective merger brings to both groups.

“This merger will provide enhanced capabilities to both groups,” Yadav noted. “SafetyNetwork members will have access to programs and services such as e-Commerce that are critical to the long-term viability of our channel. AD members will benefit from SafetyNetwork’s strong technical expertise and training capabilities. We view this as an evolution of our strategy to help independents compete and win.”