Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) and Sears Holdings (SHLD) ended a century-old partnership, which means that Whirlpool will no longer be selling its appliances at the struggling retailer, CNBC reported. Whirlpool shares took a hit, and the company reported a market capitalization of close to $12 billion, as of October 24, 2017.
Whirlpool employs around 93,000 employees and earned almost $21 billion in sales in 2016. These metrics would not be possible without support from subsidiaries. Whirlpool has made multiple strategic acquisitions to expand the businesses it owns, the products it delivers and the geographical locations it serves. These include some brands that will no longer be available at Sears stores. Although some of these companies have been purchased almost 30 years apart from each other, they all serve the purpose of enhancing Whirlpool's operations.
American Dryer Corporation
In May 2015, Whirlpool entered into an agreement to purchase American Dryer Corporation, a privately held manufacturer of coin-operated, on-premise laundry equipment. Whirlpool gained access to new markets while expanding on an already strong foundation in the laundry industry. The financial information of the deal was not disclosed to the public. American Dryer Corporation is headquartered in Massachusetts and operates out of a state-of-the-art 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and design center. Founded over 50 years ago, American Dryer Corporation provides products to over 90 countries.
Whirlpool became the majority interest holder in Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Company Ltd in October 2014. The leading home appliance manufacturer is based in China and gives Whirlpool an important expansion into the valuable Chinese application market. Hefei Sanyo has established a wide distribution network that has resulted in 30,000 outlet partnerships.
Although Whirlpool has already had a history of business in China for more than two decades, its presence has typically been in higher-tier cities. The acquisition expands Whirlpool's exposure to rural markets. Upon the completion of the acquisition, Hefei Sanyo changed its name to Whirlpool China Company Ltd. As part of the deal, Whirlpool paid $552 million.
For $1 billion, Whirlpool acquired a 60% controlling stake in the Italian appliance maker Indesit Company, known for their washing machines, freezers, and ovens. The deal was completed in cash and debt, with Whirlpool shelling out 758 million euros. The purchase expanded Whirlpool's presence in Europe, as Indesit generates more than half of its revenue in Western Europe. At the time of the acquisition, Indesit employed more than 16,000 individuals.
In 1986, Whirlpool entered into an agreement with Hobart Corporation to acquire the appliance brand KitchenAid. Introduced in 1919, KitchenAid manufactures and sells major appliances including ovens, refrigerators, microwaves, dishwashers, and grills. Its product line also includes stand mixers, food processors, juicers, hand blenders, and accessories. In 1986, Whirlpool paid $150 million to acquire all operations of the company, except for the dishwasher and trash compactor operations. The acquisition was delayed for a year due to an antitrust lawsuit that proved to be unsuccessful.
Maytag Corporation and Associated Brands
In August 2005, Whirlpool agreed to pay $1.7 billion to acquire its rival, the Maytag Corporation. Whirlpool paid $21 per share in cash and common stock for the company. Whirlpool assumed $977 million of Maytag's debt and reimbursed another bidder's $40 million breakup fee due to its pursuit of Maytag. The deal made Whirlpool the world's largest appliance manufacturer. Maytag was founded in 1893 in Newton, Iowa. At the time of the merger, Whirlpool had $19 billion in annual sales and over 80,000 employees.
Whirlpool's acquisition of Maytag resulted in the acquisition of numerous recognizable, marketable brands. The company acquired the brand Jenn-Air, the kitchen appliance manufacturer of microwave ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and small alliances. Whirlpool also bought various divisions of Amana, the home appliance manufacturer. Maytag owned the Hoover Company, a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, before including the brand in the acquisition.