Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to buy the Duracell battery business from Procter & Gamble, a deal that comes less than a month after the consumer-products giant said it would shed the asset.
Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate that owns insurance, railroad, retailers and other businesses, said it expects the deal to close by the end of the second half of next year. The deal terms are a bit complex: P&G has agreed to pump about $1.7 billion in cash into the Duracell company at closing, and in exchange, will receive about $4.7 billion in P&G stock currently held by Berkshire Hathaway.
Berkshire Hathaway is one of P&G’s top investors, owning 52.8 million in shares, or just under 2% of the total P&G stock outstanding according to Morningstar data.
“I have always been impressed by Duracell, as a consumer and as a long-term investor in P&G and Gillette,” Warren Buffett said in a prepared statement.
P&G late last month had indicated it would shed its Duracell brand, part of the company’s plan to slim down its product slate. P&G’s exit from Duracell began with an agreement to sell its interest in a China-battery joint venture, a deal that occurred in late August. Terms of that transaction weren’t disclosed, though P&G said it booked a charge of $932 million, which was related to that deal.
At the time, the second step hadn’t been finalized. P&G said it hoped to split off Duracell into a stand-alone business, but also said it would consider a sale or other alternatives if they “generated equal or better value.”
“I’m confident this new ownership structure will provide strong support for Duracell’s future growth plans,” said P&G Chief Executive A.G. Lafley.
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