Duracell

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Duracell Inc.
Subsidiary
Founded 1924; 92 years ago (1924) (as P.R. Mallory Company)
Headquarters Bethel, Connecticut, USA
Geneva, Switzerland[1]
Key people
Samuel Ruben and Philip Rogers Mallory (founders)
Products Batteries and smart power systems
Revenue US$2 billion (2015)
Owner Berkshire Hathaway
Number of employees
2,700
Website www.duracell.com

Duracell Inc. is an American company owned by Berkshire Hathaway that produces batteries and smart power systems. The company has its origins in the 1920s, through the work of Samuel Ruben and Philip Rogers Mallory, and the formation of the P.R. Mallory Company.

Through a number of corporate mergers and acquisitions, Duracell came to be owned by the consumer products conglomerate Procter & Gamble (P&G). In November 2014, P&G reached an agreement to sell the company to Berkshire Hathaway through a transfer of shares. Under the deal, Berkshire Hathaway exchanged the shares it held in P&G for ownership of the Duracell business.[2]

History[edit]

Origins[edit]

Duracell originated via the partnership of scientist Samuel Ruben and businessman Philip Rogers Mallory, who met during the 1920s. The P.R. Mallory Company of Burlington, Massachusetts, United States, relocated its headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1924. The company produced mercury batteries for military equipment,[3] trumping the carbon-zinc batteries used then in virtually all applications. During the 1950s, Kodak introduced cameras with a flash. The design required a new cell size, and size AAA was developed.[3]

A Duracell flashlight from the 1980s

In 1964, the term "Duracell" was introduced as a brand, from "durable cell." Until 1980, the batteries also bore the Mallory brand.

The name came from a conversation with a shop owner. The executive called the company and asked if A-1 Durable Carpet Inc. had a trademark on the name Durable. The executive spoke to the son of the cleaning company, Steve Nobrega. The executive explained how they were thinking of calling a new battery that had a copper cell "Durable Cell" and asked how the name suited the company. The owner's son explained that his father was the owner of a franchise originally called "Duraclean". His father had chosen the new company name for the company by dropping the clean in "Duraclean" and added able to Dura to keep the name similar.

P.R. Mallory was acquired by Dart Industries in 1978, which in turn, merged with Kraft in 1980. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts bought Duracell in 1988 and took the company public in 1989. It was acquired for $7 billion by Gillette in 1996.[4]

Developments[edit]

In 2005, Procter & Gamble acquired Duracell's parent Gillette for $57 billion.[5]

In September 2011, Duracell and Powermat Technologies Ltd. started a joint venture, called Duracell Powermat, to make small wireless chargers for mobile phones and small electronics, with P&G owning 55% of the joint venture shares and Powermat 45%.[6]

In March 2012, along with Powermat Technologies, Duracell, under the Procter & Gamble corporate umbrella, founded the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), an alliance of leading industry and governmental organizations, that is dedicated to advancing smart and environmentally sound wireless power.[7] AT&T and Starbucks joined the board later that year.[8]

P&G spin-off[edit]

On October 24, 2014, Procter & Gamble announced it would spin off Duracell in 2015 as part of a wider restructuring scheme.[9] On November 14, 2014, Berkshire Hathaway declared its intent to acquire Duracell in an all-stock deal, consisting of $4.7 billion worth of P&G stock then owned by Berkshire Hathaway.[10] The acquisition received regulatory approval from the European Commission in July 2015.[11]

The transfer was completed on February 29, 2016, with P&G investing $1.8 billion in cash into Duracell, and Berkshire Hathaway giving P&G back 52 million shares.[2]

Products[edit]

A Duracell AA battery

Duracell manufactures alkaline batteries in many common sizes, such as AAA, AA, C, D, and 9V. Lesser-used sizes such as AAAA (primarily for pagers, penlights, and blood glucose meters) and J size batteries (for hospital devices and photographic strobe flash units) are also manufactured along with a range of "button" batteries using zinc-air, silver-oxide, and lithium chemistries, used in calculators, watches, hearing aids, and other small (mostly medical-related) devices. Duracell entered into a brand licensing agreement with flash memory manufacturer Dane-Elec in 2008 for a line of products including memory cards, hard drives and USB flash drives with the Duracell brand mark and in the brand's trademark "copper top" coloring.[12]

Duracell also manufactures specialty batteries, including NiMH rechargeable batteries and batteries for cameras, watches, hearing aids, etc. Their two main battery brands are "CopperTop (Plus)," marketed as longer-lasting, and "Ultra," directed mainly at users of digital devices and devices that need more power. Duracell also has a line of lithium chemistry batteries and products, now manufactured outside of the U.S.

In 2013, the company released a new "Duracell Quantum" line as their top-performing product series.[13]

A Duracell Procell AA box with the battery superimposed

In recent years, Duracell's innovations expanded to include new battery designs with their prismatic batteries, which are prismatic in shape rather than cylindrical. Prismatic cells were made available in both alkaline and lithium designs. In 2006, Duracell introduced "Power Pix" batteries with NiOx technology, designed to supply longer life in digital cameras and other high-drain devices by up to twice the number of photos typically achievable with alkaline batteries.

Duracell batteries are also bulk packaged for end users under the brand name "Industrial by Duracell" (previously "Duracell Procell").

Advertising campaigns[edit]

Duracell's advertising campaigns in the United States have always outlined the reliability of Duracell batteries and usually end with a three-note chime highlighting each syllable in the brand name (and previously highlighting the trademark "copper top" portion of the battery's overlay wrapping). Narrated by actor Jeff Bridges, these campaigns show people using the battery to power the devices they find most important: everything from a Defibrillator to a BrickHouse Child Locator.[14]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hintz, Eric S., “Portable Power: Inventor Samuel Ruben and the Birth of Duracell,” Technology and Culture, 50 (Jan. 2009), 24–57.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coolidge, Alexander (March 1, 2016). "Duracell leaves P&G fold". Cincinnati. Retrieved March 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "P&G Completes Exchange of Duracell to Berkshire Hathaway". Business Wire. February 29, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.duracell.com/en-US/company/history.jspx
  4. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (September 13, 1996). "Gillette to Buy Duracell for $7 Billion". New York Times. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "P&G to acquire Gillette for $57bn". BBC News. January 28, 2005. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ Melanson, Donald (September 15, 2011). "Powermat and Duracell forming joint venture to 'globalize wireless charging'". Engadget. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "AT&T, Google, Starbucks Back 'PMA' Wireless Power Ecosystem and Open Standard". PR Newswire. October 29, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ Gilbert, Ben (October 29, 2012). "Boston-area Starbucks testing wireless smartphone charging; Starbucks, Google and AT&T back PMA standard". Engadget. Retrieved March 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ "P&G to shed Duracell". Cincinnati Business Journal. October 24, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ Morris, Patrick (14 November 2014). "Why Warren Buffett Just Bought Duracell". Money. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Blenkinsop, Philip (23 July 2015). "EU clears Berkshire Hathaway's purchase of Duracell". Reuters. Retrieved 2 November 2015. 
  12. ^ "Duracell Advances 'Trusted Everywhere' Brand Name To Flash Memory Products". 
  13. ^ Duracell® Introduces Quantum™ The World’s Most Advanced Alkaline Battery
  14. ^ "GPS Tracking Device For Kids - Child GPS". 

External links[edit]

Media related to Duracell at Wikimedia Commons