The building merchant beats rivals to acquire UK’s second largest building supplies company.

Travis Perkins has announced the acquisition of DIY retailer Wickes for £950m. The takeover will be subject to the approval of Wickes shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting, expected to be held in January.

Travis Perkins said that the acquisition would enable the company to gain access to the growing DIY market as well as build on its strength in the building merchant sector where Wickes has 3% market share.

Travis Perkins chairman Tim Stevenson said: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Wickes and the addition of its talented team to the Travis Perkins Group. The adjacent DIY market offers highly attractive long term growth characteristics and the proposed acquisition enhances our offering in the merchants market.”

The company acquired Wickes ahead of rivals St Gobain, which owns Jewson, and Wolsley, the world’s biggest plumbing and drainage supplier. Three private equity firms were also believed to be in the frame to buy the DIY chain.

The company said that there was considerable potential for the extension of the Wickes network, which it said was under-represented in many UK cities.

To fund the acquisition Travis Perkins has put in a new bank facility of £1.2bn, which it said would also enable it to make further bolt-on acquisitions and brownfield investments. Travis Perkins is also issuing 5,000,000 new ordinary shares at a price of 1530p per share to raise approximately £76,500,000 before expenses.

Travis Perkins estimated that Wickes generated sales of £911m in the financial year to 31 October 2004.

Last week Geoff Cooper was announced as the new chief executive of Travis Perkins. He will takeover from current chief executive Frank McKay on February 1.