Global investor Advent International is set to create a €2.1bn (£1.9bn) industrial supplies business, buying IPH to merge with its existing UK portfolio business Brammer.
The business serves a range of industries including the pharmaceutical, food processing, energy, transport and mechanical engineering sectors, and will be merged with struggling Brammer which Advent took private earlier this year.
Brammer's chief executive said: “This marks an important step for Brammer. I have no doubt the combination with IPH will help us become an even better distribution partner and employer.”
Brammer had been trading poorly before Advent took it off the London Stock Exchange in a £221.5m deal this February.
Just months before, its share price had plunged as it issued a profit warning and scrapped its dividend following disappointing sales.
Yet Advent says the new combined business will have revenues of more than €2.1bn, with IPH generating revenues of €1.3bn last year.
IPH was valued at just €465m when PAI bought it in 2013. The private equity firm quickly set about building it, hoovering up more than 50 acquisitions and entering IPH into five new countries.
Both PAI and Advent declined to comment on the value of the deal.
Advent International, which is headquartered in the US and had more than €39bn in assets under management at the end of last year, has been named in connection with a number of European deals recently.
It showed interest in The Body Shop, but pulled out before the final rounds of the bidding process, and was beaten in the race for German pharmaceuticals company Stada by another private equity consortium.