I don't think it was a statement of fact. More of a sense. Looking for a statement from the corporate board or something?
SW is on a mission to try to buy up a much of the painting industry as possible. Do I have a "citation" for that? Nope. I just keep seeing what they're doing/buying. The PPG / HD alliance is likely the corporate defense strategy for that. Do I have a citation for that? Nope. You get a sense for what's going on. And as a retailer, I'll take coco's "sense" for things over most any others.
And there's little indication that BM is looking to go to some exclusive ACE merger/alliance. That's a weird comparison because the business models are totally different. Comparing ACE / BM to the likes of Lowe's/SW and HD/PPG is like comparing apples and oranges. If we compare to food, ACE/BM are more like what IGA (INDEPENDENT grocers alliance) is/was. They facilitate supply for independently owned, small(ish) businesses. But Lowes/SW and HD/PPG are more like WalMart. They own/control/top-down-manage everything. Two different business planets.