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GE Selling Louisville-Based Appliances Business to Chinese Company Haier For $5.4 Billion

General Electric is selling its Louisville-based appliance business to the Chinese company Haier for $5.4 billion.

In a news release early Friday, GE said the appliance business' headquarters would remain in Louisville. The current management team, led by CEO Chip Blankenship, will remain, the company said. No further details were released.

Haier manufactures electronics and appliances.

The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, though it still has to pass Haier shareholder and regulatory approval, GE said. The company said it hopes to complete the sale by the middle of the year.

Haier has been looking to grow its U.S. business, and the deal is expected to dramatically boost those efforts, the Wall Street Journal reports.

This is GE's second attempt to sell the appliance business. Last month, the company called off a $3.3 billion deal with the Swedish company Electrolux. The U.S. Justice Department challenged the Electrolux deal, arguing it would have raised consumer prices and reduced competition in the U.S. appliance market.

Based at the 900-acre Appliance Park, GE Appliances employs about 6,000 people in Louisville, including 3,700 hourly workers.

The deal also includes opportunities for the companies to collaborate in the future. At $5.4 billion, the sale represents China's third-largest buy in the U.S. on record, according to financial firm Dealogic.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt said in a news release the sale would help boost his company in China.

"GE Appliances provides Haier with great products, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and a talented team," Immelt said. "In addition, we see the opportunity to work together to build the GE brand in China.”

Zhang Ruimin, chairman and CEO of Haier, called the deal a "starting point" for the two companies.

"Further, we share common goals that we hope to achieve together: enhancing the value of the Haier and GE brands and developing our employees by encouraging autonomous innovation and cooperation," he said in a statement.

In a news release, Mayor Greg Fischer said: "Haier not only brings global scale and growth opportunity to GE Appliances, but we also keep the headquarters and existing great leadership and full complement of employees in Louisville. Haier’s proven track record of innovation and GE’s stable of new products and innovation pipeline creates a company that is now the envy of the global appliance industry."


Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.