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The Plan to Pull the Plug on GE Lighting

The Plan to Pull the Plug on GE Lighting

By Bridget McCrea

The company decides to sell off a line of business that no longer fits the firm's digital industrial portfolio.

On June 8, GE announced to its employees that it was putting its lighting business up for sale. In an internal email sent to GE Lighting Employees, Bill Lacey, President and CEO, described how the company was “formally beginning discussions with buyers around a proposed sale” of the GE Lighting business. “We are doing terrific things, leading the lighting industry and driving growth in the markets where we operate,” Lacey wrote. “We have an opportunity to accelerate this work as part of a potential new organization under new ownership where lighting is a priority and focus.”

In an interview with tED magazine, Alicia Gauer, director of communications at GE Lighting, said that the manufacturer is selling GE Lighting as part of its mission to continue streamlining its portfolio and focusing on its core digital industrial assets. “We are beginning conversations with prospective buyers,” Gauer said. “Strategic options will be considered based on final terms with potential buyers and may include different buyers for different parts of the business.”

Gauer added that the proposed sale will not include professional lighting or other products and services sold through Current, powered by GE. Asked why the decision was made to move away from the lighting business, she pointed out that GE has made important portfolio shifts in recent years to solidify GE's digital industrial leadership and strengthen the company's focus.

“Though the lighting business is a leader in the lighting industry and effectively driving growth in the markets it operates,” said Gauer, “that focus just doesn't fit the digital industrial portfolio that represents who GE is today.”
She went on to say that GE Lighting has undergone “tremendous transformation” over the last two years aimed at strengthening and focusing the business, and that the company is bringing “the future to light through a new generation of lighting that is as different from Edison's first light bulbs as smartphones are from the first telephones.”

“Aligning GE Lighting with a company whose focus is in this space is the right move to ensure continued growth,” said Gauer, who noted that the company is currently “very early” in the sales process, and that the next steps will be determined as conversations progress. “Much will depend on potential buyers.”

Asked what GE's plans are for its Current brand, Gauer pointed out that the proposed sale will not include professional lighting or other products and services sold through Current. “Current's strategy is fully aligned with GE's digital industrial future,” Gauer explained. “The business blends advanced energy technologies like LED and solar with networked sensors and software to make commercial buildings and industrial facilities more energy efficient and productive.”

McCrea is a Florida-based writer who covers business, industrial, and educational topics for a variety of magazines and journals. You can reach her at bridgetmc@earthlink.net or visit her website at www.expertghostwriter.net.



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