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Distribution Company EBITDA & Valuation Multiples – 2024 Report

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Last Updated: March 28, 2024

The following report aggregates EBITDA and revenue multiple data pertaining to the sale of private distributors between Q2 2023 – Q2 2024. Our team sourced the data in this report from private equity networks, expert interviews, and proprietary databases. (Sources)

The tables below show average EBITDA and revenue multiples for distribution companies, broken down by industry subsector as well as EBITDA and revenue range. 

EBITDA Multiples for Distributors, Q2 2024

Company TypeEBITDA Range
Building Materials7.1x9.8x11.1x
Consumer Goods6.6x9x10.7x
Food Service7.2x9.2x10.6x
Importers & Exporters6.7x8.7x10.9x
Logistics & Fulfillment7.3x9.4x10.3x
Medical & Healthcare6.9x9.7x12.5x

Revenue Multiples for Distributors, Q2 2024

Company TypeRevenue Range
Building Materials2.7x3.1x3.5x
Consumer Goods2.6x2.9x3.3x
Food Service3.1x3.4x3.6x
Importers & Exporters2.3x3.2x3.6x
Logistics & Fulfillment3.1x3.6x3.7x
Medical & Healthcare3.2x3.6x3.8x

The following sections detail the state of distribution company M&A as of Q2 2024, including predictions for the future of the industry.

The State of Private Distribution Company M&A

Valuation multiples for distributors saw a significant dip between H2 2022 and H2 2023 due to macroeconomic turbulence caused by rising interest rates. However, valuations have seen a rise in multiples over the last 6-8 months, depending on the subsector. Our team attributes the rise in valuations to a stabilizing supply chain, which saw marked improvements beginning in Q1 2023.

The graph below shows the fluctuation of EBITDA multiples for private distribution companies over the last 3 years:

EBITDA Multiples for Private Distribution Companies, H1 2020 – H1 2024

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While multiples are rising across the sector, the overall rate of growth has slowed compared to its pre-pandemic trajectory. Consumer Goods, for example, is nearly flat when compared to Q1 2020; and Import / Export multiples were up only about 1% between 2022 and 2024. Valuations for more essential subsectors like Medical and Food Service have seen slightly better growth, but obviously not nearly as much as they did during the pandemic. The only sector that has experienced a more substantial rise in multiples is Industrial, increasing by approximately +.4x over the past year.

Viewed over a 5-year period, there has been consistent growth in multiples for distributors, and this has resulted in distinct M&A activity patterns. Notably, over the past year, there have been more carve-outs and divestitures, which we attribute to rising interest rates and a deceleration in growth. Our research team predicts that this trend will persist until a full economic recovery—ideally in early next year, but possibly extending into 2025.

Our research team has the following predictions about what to expect over the rest of 2024: 

  • Increased focus on reshoring and supply chain optimization: Given the challenges posed by the recent global supply chain disruptions, rising input costs, and product shortages, acquirers are likely to prioritize deals that contains solutions to address these challenges, such as companies that have adopted advanced logistics technologies or supply chain optimization tools.
  • Better industry margins and pricing stability will improve distribution M&A: M&A activity will likely see a rise in valuations as a result of stabilizing freight and commodity prices. Strategic buyers and PE firms will likely be looking closely at acquiring companies that have successfully capitalized on these margins, as they provide the best opportunity to enhance profitability following a sale.
  • There will be a rise in sustainable and ESG-focused M&A: As environmental, social, and governance (ESG) awareness continues to grow among corporate leaders, companies focusing on sustainability and eco-friendly products will see higher valuations from prospective buyers. Similarly, we predict growing numbers of strategic alignments and joint ventures with relevant industries, such as renewable energy and waste reduction. These types of discussions would take place with an M&A advisor.
Related: See our article on the Top M&A Advisory Firms in the US

Selling your Distribution Company 

Selling a distribution company involves a type of strategy that can be hard to pin down for business owners. Having sold multiple businesses to strategic and financial buyers, I can personally speak to the demanding nature of this process. 

If you’re seeking guidance as you contemplate entering the M&A market, I’m available for a brief discussion. Feel free to contact me through the link below or using the contact page on this website.

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.

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