General Electric is working to sell GE Lighting.
Today, GE formally began “discussions with buyers around a proposed sale” of the East Cleveland-based lighting business unit, according to an internal email from GE Lighting CEO Bill Lacey. The entire email was posted at EdisonReport.net this morning, and GE Lighting has confirmed that Lacey sent the email.
The email emphasizes that talks are just beginning and that GE Lighting “could consider several strategic options.” For instance, it could sell different parts of GE Lighting to different buyers, Lacey states in the email.
But GE’s Current business unit — which has employees in East Cleveland — is not for sale.
“The proposed sale will not include professional lighting or other products and services sold through Current,” according to an email from Alicia Gauer, director of communications for GE Lighting. Created in 2015, Current aims to use advanced energy technologies and digital networks “to make commercial buildings and industrial facilities more energy efficient and productive,” according to the business unit’s website.
Gauer noted that there are “no immediate plans to move GE Lighting employees” or Current employees who work at the Nela Park campus in East Cleveland.
The decision to sell is part of General Electric’s ongoing effort “to streamline its portfolio and focus on its core digital industrial assets,” Gauer wrote.
GE has been getting out of other consumer-facing businesses. In recent years it has sold NBC, most of GE Capital and GE Appliances.
In the internal email, Lacey pointed to the GE Appliances deal to illustrate how teams can thrive “under new ownership that shares their same mission.” GE sold that unit to a Chinese company called Haier Group for $5.6 billion.
GE Lighting held a meeting for all employees this morning at 9 a.m. It also is taking questions and feedback from employees online, according to the email.
Some stock analysts have been expecting GE to sell GE Lighting, which includes the company’s residential LED business and its traditional lighting products business. GE executives have previously made comments suggesting that the company was heading in a different direction.
GE Lighting has shrunk considerably in recent years. For instance, in 2016 the business unit announced plans to close six plants that make incandescent bulbs and other traditional lighting products that are falling out of favor. But GE Lighting has been working new consumer products that take advantage of what LEDs can do. For instance, in September the company plans to release a voice-activated table lamp that uses Amazon’s Alexa technology to play music, rattle off sports scores and add items to your grocery list.