Industrial maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) specialist MSC Industrial Direct (NYSE:MSM) announced today that it is acquiring for $550 million the North American distribution business of Barnes Group (NYSE:B), an international aerospace and industrial manufacturer and service provider.

The acquisition is expected to close in late March or early in the second quarter and will be accretive to cash flow and earnings per share starting in 2014. It's anticipated the deal will add incremental earnings of $0.15 to $0.20 per share next year and will double that amount in 2015. However, the vast majority of the transaction costs will be incurred in 2013 and 2014. 

The acquisition will be financed using available cash and borrowings under an anticipated new credit facility and term loan structure. The new business offers fasteners and other high-margin, low-cost consumables throughout the U.S. and Canada with more than 55,000 SKUs of products, and had unaudited sales of roughly $300 million in 2012. The business being acquired has some 31,000 customers.

MSC CEO and President Erik Gershwind was quoted as saying, "We are very excited to have the BDNA associates join the MSC team, nearly doubling our existing sales force and helping us to take this logical next step in our revenue roadmap." MSC will add approximately 1,400 employees, including over 800 field sales associates, to its payroll. The MRO shop has a goal of achieving $4 billion in revenues by 2016.

Barnes Group said it expects to utilize a portion of the proceeds to reduce debt, buy back common shares, and invest in growth initiatives including acquisitions.