A month after giving up on the idea of selling its appliance business to Electrolux, GE has found a new buyer willing to pay big bucks for the company’s slate of washers, dryers, and fridges. This time, it’s the China-based Haier Group, which will pay $5.4 billion to take over this portion of GE’s business.
You may not know the Haier name, with the company only recently beginning to make inroads into the U.S. market, but the Qingdao-headquartered company is one of the larger global players in the home appliance or “white goods” field. Here in the states, Haier has so far made a small name for itself as a manufacturer of lower-cost appliances, some of which have not been received all too well by customers.
GE has been looking to unload its appliances on someone for quite some time. Its $3.3 billion deal with Electrolux — originally announced in 2014 — fell apart in late 2015 after antitrust regulators grew concerned about Electrolux gaining too much market share.
Because Haier barely has a foothold in the U.S. market, the sale seems unlikely to raise the same red flags — or at least as many of them — that scuttled the earlier deal.
GE is positioning the sale as a way for its brands to not only continue to exist, but to reach new markets.
“We are pleased to be selling our Appliances business to Haier, which is committed to growing the business globally,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt in a statement. “Haier has a stated focus to grow in the U.S., build their manufacturing presence here, and to invest further in the business.”
According to GE, the appliance division will remain in Louisville, and Haier has committed to continue using the “GE Appliances” brand, rather than changing everything over to its own name.
Haier will also acquire GE Appliances’ 48.4% stake in Mexico-baased appliance company Mabe. This means that the sale will require regulatory approval in the U.S., China, Mexico, and Argentina, reports Reuters.