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GE Nearing Deal To Sell Appliance Business to China's Haier, Business To Be Sold At More Than $4 Billion

By January 16, 2016 at 2:20 am
GE Nearing Deal To Sell Appliance Business to China's Haier, Business To Be Sold At More Than $4 Billion (Photo : Joe Raedle | Getty Images News)

General Electric Co. (GE) is nearing a deal to sell its appliance business to China's Haier Group, after GE's previous attempt to sell the unit at a lower price was blocked by antitrust regulators, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

The people said the business unit will be sold for more than $4 billion.

One of the people said that Haier outbid other foreign corporate bidders for GE's appliance business, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Two other people familiar with the matter said that the deal could be announced as early as Friday, but the timing could slip.

Reuters reports that GE walked away from its attempt to sell the unit to Electrolux AB for $3.3 billion, following months of opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed a lawsuit in July last year to block the transaction, saying that the merger would push prices of appliances up by five percent.

The DOJ said that Electrolux, GE and Whirlpool, a larger competitor, makes up more than 90 percent of major kitchen appliances sold to homebuilders.

GE said that it would pursue other suitors for its century-old appliance business unit, but declined to say who.

The company, which was expected to move quickly to find a new buyer, previously told investors that demand for its appliance business has been strong.

GE executives also said that they wanted "a better deal" than the one they got from Electrolux in seeking a new buyer.

Haier, which is a much smaller player in the U.S., is less likely to raise the same antitrust concern with its purchase of GE's appliance business unit.

GE is exiting one of its legacy business lines due to the companywide reorientation that CEO Jeff Immelt is implementing.

Immelt wants GE to focus on its high-tech, high-value products, like power turbines, jet engines, and oil-and-gas production equipment.

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