Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) is a leading home appliance company that sells products under various brands such as Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air and Consul.The company’s history can be traced back to 1908, when Lou Upton obtained the patent ownership of a cell phone wash that he believed could be electrified.
Three years later, in 1911, Upton and his uncle Emory received funding to begin manufacturing a patented electric wringing washing machine. The new company Upton Machinery Co., Ltd. was born and grew rapidly. Three years later, in 1949, the company name was changed to Whirlpool Corporation.
Whirlpool’s revenue in 2019 was 20 billion U.S. dollars, net profit was 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, and 67 million products were sold.Its market value is 8.4 billion U.S. dollars. Without many affiliated brands, the company’s growth is impossible. Throughout its history, Whirlpool has expanded its product line from washing machines to all types of electrical appliances through acquisitions. Whirlpool’s acquisition also allowed it to expand into various new domestic and foreign markets, and in some cases caused antitrust issues.
Below, let’s take a closer look at several top acquisitions in Whirlpool’s history. Please note that Whirlpool does not provide revenue and profit data for subsidiaries.
Seeger Refrigerator Co., and RCA stove and air conditioner
- Business type: refrigerator, stove, air conditioner
- Purchase price: Unknown (3 companies merged)
- Date of purchase: July 1955
One of Whirlpool’s earliest efforts to expand its product supply and influence occurred in 1955 and involved a major merger of three companies. Whirlpool merged with Seeger Refrigerator Co. to expand Whirlpool’s product line to include refrigerators.
As part of the transaction, Whirlpool also acquired RCA’s air-conditioning and stove business.The combined company had assets of US$130 million at the time of the merger.This merger is a key early development for Whirlpool, as it helps position the company as a supplier of various appliances beyond traditional washing machine products.
- Business type: washing machine, dryer, kitchen and home appliances
- Purchase price: $1.7 billion in cash and stock
- Purchase Date: March 31, 2006
In August 2005, Whirlpool agreed to pay US$1.7 billion to acquire its rival Maytag Corp. The total value of the transaction is US$2.6 billion, including approximately US$900 million in Maytag debt.Because of Whirlpool’s pursuit of Mattel, Whirlpool repaid another bidder’s $40 million breakup fee.
Maytag was founded in Iowa in 1893 and has now grown into a leading manufacturer of home appliances.Through the Maytag transaction, Whirlpool became the direct owner of successful brands such as the maker of microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and small alliances, Jenn-Air. It also became the owner of several divisions of the popular home appliance manufacturer Amana.
Whirlpool’s acquisition of Mattel to consolidate control of the home appliance industry is not without its critics. The acquisition was the subject of an antitrust investigation by the US Department of Justice, which ultimately determined that the transaction did not pose a major threat to competition.
- Business Type: Kitchen Appliances
- Purchase price: undisclosed
- Purchase Date: January 12, 1985
In 1985, Whirlpool announced plans to reach an agreement with Hobart Corp., a subsidiary of Dart & Kraft, Inc., to acquire the home appliance brand KitchenAid. Analysts estimated that Whirlpool paid up to 170 million U.S. dollars for KitchenAid, but the transaction price was not disclosed.Founded in 1919, KitchenAid produces and sells products such as ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, and food processors.
As the antitrust lawsuit proved unsuccessful, the acquisition was postponed for one year.In 1986, Whirlpool eventually acquired all of the company’s businesses, except for the dishwasher and waste compactor business, which was sold to Emerson Electric as part of the acquisition agreement.
Hefei Royalstar Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd.
- Business Type: Home Appliances (China)
- Purchase price: US$552 million reported51% of shares
- Purchase Date: October 24, 2014
Whirlpool acquired a 51% stake in China Hefei Royalstar Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. in October 2014 and became a major shareholder. Hefei Sanyo is a leading home appliance manufacturer in mainland China. At the time of purchase, Whirlpool is working hard to increase sales in Asia.
Through the acquisition of Hefei Sanyo, Whirlpool expanded its business scope beyond larger urban areas and entered the previously undeveloped rural market in China. As part of the transaction, Hefei Sanyo changed its name to Whirlpool China Co., Ltd.
- Business Type: Home Appliances (Europe)
- Purchase price: reported US$1 billion60.4% equity
- Purchase Date: October 14, 2014
In 2014, Whirlpool acquired a 60.4% controlling stake in Indesit, an Italian home appliance manufacturer, for approximately US$1 billion. Founded in 1975, Indesit is famous for washing machines, freezers and ovens.ofThe transaction was completed in cash and debt a year after Whirlpool acquired a majority stake in China’s Hefei Sanyo in a similar manner.
The acquisition expands Whirlpool’s influence in Europe, and its influence in Europe is much smaller than that in the United States
Whirlpool diversity and inclusive transparency
As part of our efforts to raise awareness of the importance of company diversity, we emphasized the transparency of Whirlpool’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility. The figure below illustrates how Whirlpool reports on the diversity of its management and workforce. This indicates whether Whirlpool has disclosed data on the diversity of its board of directors, top management, general managers and employees on various indicators. We have used ✔ for transparency.
|Samsung Electronics Diversity and Inclusion Report|
|Race||gender||ability||Veteran status||Sexual orientation|
|Board of Directors||✔||✔|