Source: Suitors for GE’s appliance division touring local plants; sale expected ‘in a matter of weeks’

Screenshot of GE Appliances website.

Potential buyers of GE’s Louisville-based appliance division are inspecting local manufacturing plants at Appliance Park, and the company expects to announce a buyer “in a matter of weeks” if not sooner, a source familiar with the matter told IL on Tuesday.

General Electric has been trying to sell the appliance unit because it does not fit into the company’s plan to focus on being an infrastructure and technology company.

GE Appliances employs about 12,000, including about 6,000 at the 900-acre Louisville campus, which manufactures household products like dishwashers, refrigerators and hot water heaters.

GE recently terminated an agreement to sell the unit to Sweden-based AB Electrolux. Federal regulators had sued to stop the $3.3 billion acquisition because they feared a loss of competition and higher prices for consumers.

A new buyer is likely to have a much smaller presence in the U.S. than Electrolux. Various media reports have said the China-based Haier Group is among the suitors. GE has said the appliance business has received interest from more than five serious buyers.

While GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt had told investors about a month ago that he expected to complete an agreement with a new buyer in the first quarter, the source familiar with the matter told IL that negotiations “are moving pretty quickly.”

Representatives of some of the suitors have traveled to Louisville and are touring the local operations this week.

“Things are moving at a rapid pace,” the source said.