Wheaton Van Lines Inc. will acquire Hillside, Ill.-based Bekins Van Lines. This agreement, expected to be complete by mid-March, will make the operation the fourth largest household goods carrier in the U.S.

Wheaton World Wide Moving and Bekins Van Lines will continue to operate as separate brands with combined operational efficiencies. The new Bekins will be headquartered in Indianapolis, along with Wheaton.

The acquisition will increase the van line's agency base from 240 agents to approximately 370 nationwide. Approximately 38 employees will join Wheaton's corporate staff in Indianapolis bringing the total number of corporate employees to about 175. Bekins's Illinois offices will shut down.

"It's rare to have an opportunity to acquire a brand like Bekins, a company that truly helped to create the moving and storage industry, an innovator in that space and brand that's so well recognized," says Mark Kirschner, CEO of Wheaton Van Lines. "Consolidation in the relocation industry is inevitable as the market shrinks with the economy. But acquiring the Bekins brand and becoming partner to 130 Bekins agents will allow the van line to grow its market share overall and put us in an even better position to compete moving forward."