|This article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2008)|
|Industry||Water Treatment Products|
|Key people||Culligan Man|
|Products||Water, water softener, water filters, bottled water|
|Owner(s)||Centerbridge Partners, L.P.|
Culligan is an international water treatment products company headquartered in Rosemont, Illinois. Culligan specializes in water softeners, water filtration systems and bottled water for residential and office applications.
Culligan was founded by Emmett Culligan. With $50.00 in his pocket and with additional money arranged as a loan by his brother, Dr. John M. Culligan, and his sister, Anna V. Culligan, Emmett Culligan set up the Culligan Zeolite Company with his brothers, Drs. John and Leo Culligan, as partners. They started the new business in Jack McLaughlin's Blacksmith Shop at Northbrook, Illinois. Emmett perforated the bottom of a coffee can and used greensand to make his own water filter. Upon running water through his device, he discovered that the filter also behaved as a water softener. By 1938, the first Culligan franchised dealership opened in Wheaton, Illinois, followed by another in Hagerstown, Maryland. In 2004, Entrepreneur Magazine named Culligan the number one franchise in its industry. The company currently has over 600 dealers in the United States and Canada and sells its products in more than 90 countries. Culligan was privately held by the investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Centerbridge Partners acquired Culligan in 2012.
Its main competitors are a division of Veolia STI: Aquadem, and BWT in Europe.
In 1986, Beatrice Foods, newly acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, spun off its specialty foods and non-food brands as E-II Holdings. E-II attempted to take over American Brands in 1988, but instead American Brands purchased E-II. American Brands went on to sell the majority of the E-II brands to Meshulam Riklis. Riklis soon left the company, and E-II filed for bankruptcy in 1992. After a takeover battle from Carl Icahn, E-II emerged from bankruptcy in 1993 under the name Astrum International. Culligan was spun off in 1995, and Astrum was renamed Samsonite.
Culligan was acquired by United States Filter in 1998; US Filter was acquired by Vivendi in 1999. Vivendi spun off its water business in 2000, and the resulting company, Veolia Environnement, sold Culligan to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in 2003. Centerbridge Partners acquired Culligan in 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/05/culligan-centerbridge-idUSL1E8H4GB420120605
Culligan is best known for a famous television and radio ad featuring an all-American housewife yelling out the slogan "Hey, Culligan man!" in a raucus tone, in response to the announcer advising her to "Call your Culligan man." The campaign was originally created in 1959 for radio by Dallas Williams Productions of Los Angeles. He played the straight man in those ads, and his wife Jean Hughes Williams provided the shouting voice. Filmmaker Dan Bessie directed and animated the award-winning "Hey Culligan Man!" soft water commercials for 15 years. Variations of "Hey Culligan Man!" ads would continue to air for over three decades.
The "Hey Culligan Man" tag line and focus on the local aspects of the business was reprised.