Bloomberg reports that first round bids for General Electrics home-appliances business are due next week, according to people familiar with the matter, as the industrial giant seeks a speedy exit following its aborted deal with Electrolux.
Companies including Chinese firm Haier are weighing offers for the century-old unit, which may fetch more than the $3.3 billion Electrolux had agreed to pay, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
GE’s accelerated timeline supports Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt’s effort to reshape the company around industrial-manufacturing operations. He’s selling the consumer-appliances business along with the bulk of GE’s lending arm while expanding divisions making products such as gas turbines, oilfield equipment and jet engines.
Immelt said at an investor meeting this week that GE has seen “significant inbound interest” in the appliances unit and that he expects to reach a deal early next year. Bidders could include manufacturers and financial firms, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE said.
A GE representative declined to comment. A representative for Haier’s U.S. operations also declined to comment.
GE restarted the sale process last week after backing out of the agreement with Sweden’s Electrolux on December 7th, more than a year after it was first announced. The U.S. Justice Department contested the deal over concerns it would leave the market for range sales in the U.S. too heavily concentrated in the hands of Electrolux and Whirlpool Corp.
Electrolux, which went to court last month to fight the Justice Department’s challenge, agreed to pay GE a breakup fee of $175 million after the deal fell apart.
Haier has weighed acquisitions as the Chinese company looks to expand its reach. The maker of televisions, washing machines and refrigerators has been looking to expand its e-commerce business and broaden its offerings of connected-home products.
This is at least GE’s third attempt to unload the business, which introduced an electric toaster in 1905 and a home electric washing machine in 1930. The company said in 2008 it would explore options to sell or spin off the business over concerns it was too heavily tied to the tumultuous U.S. market, but the effort was stymied by the financial crisis.
A sale would leave GE’s light-bulb division as the company’s only remaining consumer business. Last year, the appliances and lighting unit generated $8.4 billion in sales, accounting for about 5.5% of GE’s total revenue.