FTSE 100 materials company Wolseley is understood to be in talks to buy Swedish firm Ahlsell for £1bn.
Wolseley is thought to be in competition with investment banks and private equity groups.
The deal, if it comes off, would be in keeping with Wolseley’s past record of acquisition. It has spent £87m on eight businesses since July.
Ahlsell is being sold by its private equity backer and the sale is being handled by Morgan Sindall. Wolseley declined to comment on the talks.
On Wednesday Wolseley said that it had bought drainage merchant HGH Plumbing Supplies, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which last year had a £5.9m turnover.
Earlier this month it also bought Belgium heating equipment company Centratec, which has a £29m turnover.
Wolseley’s eight most recent acquisitions are expected to add about £170m to annual turnover, which in the year to 31 July was £11.3bn.
The remaining acquisitions were made within its North American plumbing and heating distribution business.