GE to sell $30B lending and leasing firms to Wells Fargo

October 14 08:50 2015

General Electric (GE) has agreed to sell $30 billion in commercial lending and leasing businesses to Wells Fargo (WFC) as the famed U.S. conglomerate shifts focus back to its manufacturing roots. The tentative sale agreement represents the latest move in a restructuring plan announced in April to sell an estimated $200 billion in assets from the company’s GE Capital financing division.

Included in the deal are the leadership, employees and platforms of GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance. The division serves customers in 60 countries by providing financing to fund flow of durable goods from manufacturers to dealers in the marine, recreational vehicle, motor sports and other industries, GE said. The transaction also includes GE Capital Vendor Finance, a provider of private label and co-branded programs for U.S. and Canadian original equipment manufacturers, dealers and end users in office imaging, construction, material handling and technology.

Another part of the deal would see Wells Fargo, a San Francisco-based banking and financial services firm, take ownership of nearly all of GE Capital Corporate Finance’s portfolio of senior secured loans and leases for middle market companies across the U.S. and Canada. The deal, involving about $32 billion in assets and approximately 3,000 employees, is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2016, GE said.

“This is our largest transaction to date and a critical step in our efforts to reduce the size of GE Capital,” said Keith Sherin, chairman and CEO of GE Capital. “Since our April 10 announcement, we’ve signed more than $126 billion in transactions, which is over 60% of our overall plan, and are on tract to become less than 10% of GE’s earnings as the company transitions to a more focused digital industrial company.” GE shares were up 0.2% at $24.75 in morning trading. Wells Fargo shares were down fractionally at $52.13.