Calling it part of a strategy to offset some of the seasonality inherent in its business, Ariens Co. is acquiring three direct marketing brands from W.W. Grainger, Inc.

The brands are Gempler’s, Ben Meadows and AW Direct, which market outdoor-related products including landscape and horticulture equipment, gear for fighting wildfires and tow truck equipment.

The brands will become part of Brillion-based Ariens on Jan. 1. Grainger said in a statement that the three brands total had estimated revenue of $90 million in 2013.
The three brands will help smooth Arien’s revenue, which is skewed heavily toward fall and winter when sales of its snow blowers spike.

Ariens will add 250 new employees total at an office in Madison, Wis., and a distribution site in Janesville as a result of the transaction, putting its total employment at about 2,300.
The company has been seeking an acquisition as a means to diversify its portfolio of businesses, Ariens said.

Ariens will operate the acquired brands along with Stens and J. Thomas as part of a newly formed specialty brands group. The location of the businesses Ariens is acquiring played a role in the agreement.

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