GE Sells Current LED Unit Without Selling GE Lighting

Jon C. Ogg

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) seems desperate to release any good news it can. Its new chief executive officer recently bought shares after the big slide lower, and now GE has signed a proposed agreement to sell Current, which is powered by GE business, to the private equity firm American Industrial Partners. The proposed transaction is expected to close in early 2019, and the agreement noted that Current would continue to use the GE brand under a licensing agreement.

Current’s business is energy efficiency and digital productivity solutions for companies and facilities. The company’s commercial technology portfolio includes LED and traditional lighting solutions, as well as connected sensors, controls and software.

While a sale of GE’s less impactful and lower performing units is expected to continue, no financial details were disclosed here. GE was specific to note about a larger transaction not being in the cards. The press release addressed GE Lighting by saying:

The North American consumer lighting business of GE Lighting is not included as part of the proposed transaction. GE remains actively engaged in the process to sell this business.

American Industrial Partners has completed more than 90 transactions and has some $4.2 billion of assets under management, and it has been active in private equity investing for nearly 30 years.

Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO of Current, said:

American Industrial Partners would be a great home for Current moving forward. The firm’s deep expertise in operations and engineering, combined with its highly successful track record of industrial business investments, would help us accelerate Current’s growth. We look forward to partnering with the AIP team to further establish Current as a leader in the rapidly growing IoT lighting space.

Eric Baroyan, a partner of American Industrial Partners, said:

GE’s history of innovation, quality, reliability and deep domain expertise is an ideal fit with our investment strategy. We look forward to continuing that legacy by supporting Current’s management team on the key growth initiatives, building upon Current’s extensive product portfolio and leading digital solutions that are helping customers gain energy savings and greater insights into their environment through a sophisticated intelligent ecosystem platform. We are thrilled to partner with Maryrose Sylvester and the leadership team to invest in Current’s industry renowned engineering, manufacturing, digital and supply chain capabilities to capture the significant opportunity of energy efficiency and digitalization ahead of us.

GE shares managed to close down about 0.1% on Monday at a price of $9.28. Unfortunately, that was GE’s ninth consecutive drop and the price is now as low as it was in the aftermath of the Great Recession in 2009. GE traded up 1.7% at $9.45 early Tuesday morning.