From powering flashlights to cell phones and computers, Duracell carries a variety of batteries for all needs. Known for its distinctive black body and copper top, the Duracell brand is marketed for its durability and long-lasting charges, which can last for years in some devices.
Duracell has been around for almost 100 years and has changed hands multiple times through acquisitions and mergers. In the 1980s, it was part of one of the largest leveraged buyouts in the country.
Duracell’s alkaline batteries are available for a range of industries and technologies including auto, marine, medical equipment, entertainment technology, and more. The company produces rechargeable, specialty, all-purpose, and hearing aid batteries as well. In addition to batteries, the company offers SD cards, compact flash systems, power adapters, electronic chargers, and other similar products as well.
The company was originally established in Burlington, Massachusetts 1935 as P.R. Mallory. The company founders, Phillip Rogers Mallory and Samuel Ruben, had met in the 1920s and went in to business together creating mercury batteries for military equipment. At the time, most batteries were carbon-zinc and far inferior to mercury batteries.
By the 1950s, P.R. Mallory batteries were at the head of the market, and the company moved to creating specially-sized batteries for specific customers, including Kodak. In 1950, the company designed the slimmer and smaller AAA batteries to power the flash in the new Kodak cameras.
P.R. Mallory changed its name to Duracell in 1964 as a play on the words “durable cell” as its batteries lasted longer than the older carbon-zinc batteries of the 30s and 40s. However, the old P.R. Mallory name could still be found on the packaging as late as the 1980s, before the company was restructured.
Over the years, Duracell changed hands through acquisitions and mergers several different times. In 1978 it was purchased by Dart Industries, which merged with Kraft in 1980. Then the company was purchased again in 1988 and set up as its own private entity, which went public in 1988. It was bought by Gillette in 1996 for $7 billion, and then transferred ownership to Procter & Gamble in 2005 with the purchase of its parent company, Gillette.
Berkshire Hathaway acquired the company from Procter & Gamble in 2016 in a stock agreement. In exchange for Duracell, which Procter & Gamble had recently restructured, Berkshire Hathaway traded back $4.7 billion worth of the Procter & Gamble stock it owned.