The FINANCIAL — GE has reached an agreement to sell GE Capital’s global Commercial Distribution Finance, North American Vendor Finance and Corporate Finance platforms to Wells Fargo & Co. The sale includes ending net investment (ENI) of approximately $30 billion (about $32 billion of assets) and approximately 3,000 employees. It is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“This is our largest transaction to date and a critical step in our efforts to reduce the size of GE Capital,” said Keith Sherin, GE Capital chairman and CEO. “Since our April 10 announcement, we’ve signed more than $126 billion in transactions, which is over 60 percent of our overall plan, and are on track to become less than 10 percent of GE’s earnings as the company transitions to a more focused digital industrial company.
“We’re very pleased to sell this significant piece of our business to Wells Fargo, a respected industry leader who is committed to helping our customers grow and succeed. Wells Fargo’s strong operations, risk and regulatory expertise, combined with their customer focus, will allow them to seamlessly integrate our businesses,” Sherin added.
The transaction includes the leadership, employees and platforms of GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) and GE Capital Vendor Finance, according to GE.
CDF serves customers in 60 countries providing customized inventory financing to fund the flow of finished durable goods from manufacturers to dealers. The business operates globally in six core industries: marine, recreational vehicles, motorsports, outdoor products, technology, electronics and appliances.
Vendor Finance is a leading provider of private label and co-branded programs for OEMs, dealers and end users across four core industries in the U.S. and Canada: office imaging, construction, material handling and technology.
The transaction also includes essentially all of GE Capital Corporate Finance’s portfolio of senior secured loans and leases for middle market companies across the U.S. and Canada, as well as some employees. Corporate Finance has 10 specialized equipment lending and leasing verticals, with particular expertise in food and beverage, forestry, metals, restructuring and retail.
When completed, the transaction will contribute approximately $4.2 billion of capital to the overall target of approximately $35 billion of dividends expected to be paid to GE under the disposition plan (subject to regulatory approval). With this transaction, the total ENI for 2015 announced sales is more than $126 billion.
“We continue to execute quickly on our asset sales. With this transaction, GE Capital has only one significant platform remaining for sale in the U.S., our Franchise Finance unit with $5.5 billion of ENI. Once the U.S. transactions have closed and the split off of GE Capital’s retail finance business, Synchrony Financial, has occurred, GE Capital expects to file an application in 2016 for de-designation as a Systemically Important Financial Institution as its footprint in the U.S. will be significantly reduced. Globally, GE Capital expects to be substantially done with its exit strategy by the end of 2016,” said Sherin.
As previously announced, GE is embarking on a strategy to create a simpler, more valuable company by reducing the size of its financial businesses through the sale of most GE Capital assets and by focusing on continued investment and growth in its world-class industrial businesses. GE will retain the financing businesses that relate directly to GE’s industrial businesses.
The transaction with Wells Fargo is subject to customary closing conditions. Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse provided financial advice to GE and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP provided legal advice.