Buffett buys Duracell

Buffett buys Duracell

Duracell, the maker of gold and black batteries made famous by its bunny adverts, has been snapped up by billionaire US investor Warren Buffett.

In a deal worth around US$3bn, Mr Buffett’s fund Berkshire Hathaway has agreed a deal to buy Duracell from consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, which has owned the brand since 2005.

Berkshire has been a significant P&G shareholder since the consumer products firm acquired Gillette in 2005 and will pay for the business by returning shares worth $4.7bn to P&G.

Mr Buffett, the world’s most famous investor dubbed the Sage of Omaha, said: “I have always been impressed by Duracell, as a consumer and as a long-term investor in P&G and Gillette. Duracell is a leading global brand with top quality products, and it will fit well within Berkshire Hathaway.”

P&G, which owns brands such as Pampers, Bold and Head & Shoulders, announced last month that it would exit the battery business.

The distinctive gold and black battery brand employs around 2,700 globally and makes annual sales of $2.2bn.

The key offices and plants of Connecticut-based Duracell include sites in Geneva, Singapore and Tennessee. It has no factories in the UK but does run a sales department.

P&G sold its joint venture stake in another battery plant in China last week, but said it has no plans to make any cuts to the Duracell business before handing it over to Berkshire Hathaway.

It has also agreed to spend $1.8bn to recapitalise Duracell before transferring it to Berkshire.

The consumer giant said it expects to close the deal in the second half of next year.

The Duracell battery was invented in 1964 by US scientist Samuel Ruben and manufacturer Philip Rogers Mallory to initially take advantage of the demand for longer-lasting batteries which could be used in cameras.

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