General Electric (GE), the 26th largest company in the U.S. by gross revenue, is reportedly in talks to sell its home appliance business.
GE Appliances and Lighting, which was originally started in 1905 to sell toasters, generated over $8 billion in gross sales in 2013 – roughly 5.6% of its revenue. Over the course of nearly 109 years, GM has added a variety of different products to its Appliances and Lighting lineup, including refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, clothes dryers, and more.
“They are out there talking to people trying to get something done,” told an unnamed source to the Wall Street Journal.
But this isn’t the first time GE has toyed with the idea of selling its appliance business. In May 2008, the company announced plans to sell its appliance business. GE even hired Goldman Sachs to assist in the process. In the end, however, GE did not sell, with CEO Jeffrey Immelt saying the business was heavily focused on the U.S. market and needed to expand into other countries before a deal could be made.
So, why is GM selling its highly successful appliance business? Several media outlets say the Fairfield, Connecticut based company is trying to reposition itself to boost its valuation and keep its investors happy. Earlier this year, GM announced plans to sell $4 billion worth of businesses in its portfolio to focus on properties with “higher returns.”
Some analysts suggests GM was until the right time to sell its appliance business. In June, GM came to an agreement to purchase gas-turbine assets from the French multinational company Alstom for a mind-boggling $17 billion. Soon after this deal was finished, GM scooped up several other energy assets in the oil and gas market. With its Alstom deal now finished, GE will will likely make a second attempt to sell its home appliance business – at least that’s what analysts are suggesting.
Here’s a fun fact: When the Dow Jones Index was created in 1896, General Electrical was one of the 12 companies listed. Fast forward 118 years later, it’s the only original company that’s still listed. GE was originally formed as the result of a merger between General Electric Company and Thomson-Houston Electric Company. It’s since grown into a monumental powerhouse firm that consistency ranks at the top of the Fortune 500 list.
GE declines to comment on a possible sale of its home appliance business.