General Electric said today (April 10) it is selling its GE Capital banking business, in the latest attempt to simplify the conglomerate and concentrate on the best-performing segments.
USA Today reported that the slicing off of GE Capital began with the sale of Capital’s real-estate assets — a hodgepodge of factories, commercial loans, and apartment complexes — for $26.5 billion. Wells Fargo bank and private equity firm Blackstone bought the bulk of that for $23 billion, the companies said.
While portrayed as the right move for the long run — opening the door to returning $90 billion to shareholders via dividends and stock buybacks through 2018 — there’s a short-term hurt.
GE acknowledged it will take a $16 billion after-tax charge against earnings the first quarter this year as the result of exiting GE Capital.
The conglomerate, valued at $259 billion, has been slowly selling off its media, financial and appliances assets in recent years and doubling down on its industrial manufacturing business in an effort to simplify.
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