General Electric CEO: Appliance business will find new buyer soo - WDRB 41 Louisville News

General Electric CEO: Appliance business will find new buyer soon

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The washer and dryer line at Louisville Appliance Park The washer and dryer line at Louisville Appliance Park

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – General Electric Co. should strike a second deal soon to sell its Louisville-based appliance division after pulling out of the $3.3 billion sale to Electrolux last week, CEO Jeff Immelt told investors Wednesday.

“We’ve had a bunch of people that are ready to, kind of, step in and pursue this,” Immelt said, referring to other potential buyers. “I expect it to happen relatively quickly. I can never predict exactly.”

While Immelt didn't offer a specific timeframe, a slide in GE's investor presentation said the deal is expected to "sign and close early in 2016."

Immelt predicted the next deal will have a “smoother” regulatory process after the U.S. Justice Department stepped in to block the Electrolux sale on antitrust grounds.

“We’re going to sell this business, we are going to march on, and we expect this to happen pretty expeditiously,” Immelt said.

Immelt added that the Louisville-based division – including the massive Appliance Park factory – performed well this year. Its revenue for the first nine months of the year was up 8 percent compared to the same time in 2014, according to a slide in GE’s investor presentation.

“Our underlying business did a good job this year, so our execution is good,” Immelt said.

To Electrolux's dismay, General Electric pulled out of the deal earlier this month amid a trial in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. in which the companies were trying to convince a judge that the Justice Department was wrong about the potential negative effects of the merger.

General Electric also claimed a $175 million breakup fee from Electrolux that was part of the deal.

The deal, announced in September 2014, would have had big implications for Louisville's economy. About 3,800 hourly employees work at GE's Appliance Park, while about 2,200 salaried workers oversee the park and the division's other corporate responsibilities.

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Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly described the revenue increase for GE's appliance division. It is an increase for the first nine months of the year -- not only the third quarter.

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