General Electric is close to finalizing a deal to sell its private-equity lending business to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the largest pension fund manager in Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The two companies are still hashing out the details of the deal but are hoping to sign an agreement Monday, the Journal said, citing sources familiar with the negotiations.
The deal would include $10 billion of the lending unit's assets, but not its entire book of $16 billion, the Journal said. There remains a chance the deal could fall apart, but if the two companies do accept, it will be one of the largest financial acquisitions since the financial crisis.
GE has been fielding offers for its financial units since it announced plans to sell of the bulk of GE Capital in April when CEO Jeffrey Immelt said the conglomorate would be refocusing on making industrial products, including aircraft engines and oilfield services equipment.
The company might be able to announce as much as $30 billion in asset sales, Immelt has said, citing heavy interest from prospective buyers. The conglomorate has already received more than 450 inquiries as it attempts to sell off 40 of its subfranchises, GE Capital CEO Keith Sherin said, according to Bloomberg Business.
The company's private-equity lending business specializes in helping buyout firms raise the financing needed for acquisitions. Besides Canada Pension, Apollo Global Management, Ares Management and Guggenheim Securities have also made bids for the unit, Bloomberg reported. The majority of the unit is based in Chicago.
Canada Pension, meanwhile, handles the retirement savings of 18 million Canadians and has been broadening its portfolio. Last year it acquired Wilton Re Holdings Ltd., a reinsurer, and also considered the purchase of Talisman Energy Inc., an oil exploring firm.