GE to Sell Iconic Lightbulb Business

The buyer, Savant Systems, is a maker of ‘smart home’ solutions.

General Electric will sell its iconic lightbulb business, which dates to the period when the company was co-founded by Thomas Edison.

In a statement, GE said it had reached a deal to sell the GE Lighting division to Savant Systems. Financial details were not disclosed. The Wall Street Journal reported the deal was valued at about $250 million.

GE reportedly told employees it was seeking a buyer for the lighting business as early as the spring of 2017. In October 2017, new chief executive officer John Flannery announced the company would sell off more than $20 billion worth of assets following a series of disappointing earnings reports. At the time, analysts estimated the company held about $77 billion in corporate debt.

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GE has sold off NBC Universal, along with divisions that made microwaves, locomotives, and washing machines in recent years. It sold GE Capital in 2015 for $26.5 billion.

“Today’s transaction is another important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company,” CEO H. Lawrence Culp said in a statement.

Under the terms of the deal, the GE brand will remain in use under a long-term licensing agreement. GE Lighting will remain in its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, and employees will transfer to Savant on the closing of the deal.

Savant, based in Massachusetts, focuses on the smart-home industry and makes lighting, security, climate, and entertainment products, including smart speakers.

“Savant’s mission from the start has been to create the number one smart home brand in the world, and I am confident that the acquisition of GE Lighting has moved us significantly toward that ultimate goal,” Savant CEO Robert Madonna said.

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2020.

GE stock was up more than 7% in midday trading.

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