GE in talks to sell lending unit for $74 bn

General Electric, refocusing on its industrial roots, is in talks to sell its $74 billion commercial lending unit to Wells Fargo, a person close to the matter said Monday.

GE is pursuing negotiations to sell all or part of the business to Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest US bank, with the talks also involving other bidders, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The source said the talks were in a preliminary stage and that no agreement was expected for several days.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the GE talks.

GE declined requests for comment.

The sale of the huge US conglomerate’s biggest lending operation would represent a major piece of its plan announced earlier this month to sell most of GE Capital, valued at $200 billion, over the next two years.

Wells Fargo and private-equity firm Blackstone said on April 10 that they were buying most of GE Capital’s real estate assets in a $23 billion deal.

On Friday, GE reported a $13.6 billion first-quarter loss as it took hefty charges on its plan to pare down GE Capital, part of an overhaul directed by chief executive Jeff Immelt to emphasize the company’s industrial and technological prowess.

But profits rose in four of its seven industrial businesses and the company said it was on track to meet its full-year earnings forecast.

Shares in Dow member GE fell 0.8 percent to finish at $27.02 on the New York Stock Exchange, amid a strong market rally that pushed the 30-company index up 1.2 percent.


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