Warren Buffett pays $4.7 billion for Duracell

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Iconic battery brand is snapped up just weeks after P&G announced it was for sale

Duracell has been snapped up for $4.7 billion by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group, ending Procter & Gamble's ownership of the battery brand known worldwide for its copper top and drumming pink bunny.

The deal comes in the wake of an announcement last month by the FMCG giant that it would offload Duracell, the first of up to 100 brands to be axed from its portfolio.

Duracell changed hands after Buffett agreed to sell back $4.7 billion of P&G shares that Berkshire Hathaway owns. However, part of the agreement calls for P&G to "recapitalize" Duracell Co. by investing $1.7 billion in cash into the business, effectively cutting the price tag on the deal to $3 billion.

The battery brand joins Berkshire Hathaway’s stable of brands that includes Heinz, which it acquired last year. The Duracell acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2015.

"I have always been impressed by Duracell, as a consumer and as a long-term investor in P&G and Gillette," Buffett said in a statement. "Duracell is a leading global brand with top quality products, and it will fit well within Berkshire Hathaway."

A.G. Lafley, P&G’s chief executive, added: "We thank the Duracell employees for their many contributions to the business. They’ve made Duracell the global market leader in the battery category. I'm confident this new ownership structure will provide strong support for Duracell’s future growth plans."

With their copper tops, Duracell batteries are immediately identifiable to consumers, and the Duracell bunny is one of advertising's most recognizable brand icons. P&G even gave the hitherto silent pink critter a voice for the first time in 2012.

This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk.

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