What's going on?
General Electric announced plans to sell its healthcare business and oil company, Baker Hughes, on Tuesday, helping to bump its shares up by 7%. Electrifying.
What does this mean?
GE’s been on a bit of a selling spree lately: on Monday, it sold its distributed power business to a private equity firm for $3.25 billion as part of its effort to sell assets worth a whopping $20 billion within three years. In its new, sleeker guise, it’ll focus on aviation, power and renewable energy. And to complete its makeover, GE will also cut the size of its headquarters. Fewer people in the halls of power will save the company a cool $500 million – and hand more decision-making to businesses on the ground. Drinks are on GE, then…
It’ll probably take two years to complete these mega-deals that’ll see General Electric’s shareholders handsomely rewarded – they’ll receive 80% of the cash from the sale of the healthcare business (the company will also use the cash to pay back some debt).
Why should I care?
For markets: GE’s taking the defibrillator to its share price.
General Electric used to be the biggest company in the world. However, its share price has short-circuited – down 60% since the start of 2017 (tweet this) – after numerous glum updates and news last week that its stock was to be removed from America’s celebrated list of the thirty important companies. The move to simplify GE’s corporate structure has clearly been a hit – it could be the shock investors need to fall back in love with the all-American powerhouse.
The bigger picture: Simplifying businesses can mean big bucks.
Reorganizing, selling off low-growth businesses or carving out hidden gems can help companies reset themselves for future growth and fill their coffers with cash. European companies have been slimming down more frequently – which could be due to unhappy investors, more buyers being interested in taking business segments off their hands, and companies being valued highly.