The pool of strategic buyer candidates runs deep and broad, but an intense buying spree helped propel PPG Industries (NYSE: PPG) to the top in 2014. The 132-year-old paints and coatings supplier won big with a $2.3 billion purchase of Consorcio Comex SA, boosting its presence across an emerging market. PPG also spent roughly $1 billion to snatch up four middle-market targets, contributing to an 8 percent increase in net sales for 2014.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PPG searched near and far for targets. In February, it picked up Hi-Temp Coatings Technology Co., a supplier of temperature-resistant coatings, based in Boxborough, Massachusetts. That deal was followed by the purchase of Canal Supplies Inc., a Panama-based distributor of protective and marine coatings to customers in Central America, in March.

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