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Haier buys GE appliance to transform into a premium brand

Haier Group, General Electric

Chinese home appliance maker Haier Group has reached a deal to buy General Electric Co.'s appliance business for 5.4 billion dollars.


The acquisition, announced in a statement Friday, comes as Haier – the world's biggest home appliance maker — tries to transform itself into a premium brand. GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said Haier "is committed to growing the business globally."


"GE Appliances is performing well and there was significant interest from potential buyers, helping drive a good deal which will benefit our investors, customers and employees," he added.


Haier has a stated focus to grow in the U.S., build their manufacturing presence here, and to invest further in the business.


GE is shifting emphasis from traditional businesses such as appliances to higher-technology areas such as medical equipment and clean energy. The two companies also agreed to form a strategic partnership to cooperate in areas such as the Internet, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. They said the sale is subject to regulatory and anti-trust approvals in relevant countries.


GE Appliances will remain headquartered in Louisville, Ky., a statement from the firm said. GE Appliances reported $5.9 billion in 2014 revenue and has 12,000 employees, 96% of them in the United States. Zhang Ruimin, chairman and CEO of Haier Group, said the two companies share the same vision, adding that Haier is "committed to investing in the U.S."


"This transaction underscores Haier's devotion to creating a global platform for innovation, which will benefit both Haier and GE Appliances and deliver enhanced value to all stakeholders," he said.


The purchase is the third in a string of multibillion-dollar foreign acquisitions this week by Chinese buyers.


Conglomerate Wanda Group said it was buying Hollywood's Legendary Entertainment for 3.5 billion dollars. The previous day, a state-owned chemical company announced the purchase of a German manufacturer for 1 billion dollars.


Chinese companies are on a buying spree abroad, looking for technologies and brands to improve their competitive position at home and speed their global expansion.


The two companies said GE Appliances would gain more access to the growing Chinese consumer market. The purchase includes GE Appliances' 48.4% stake in Mabe, a Mexican appliance company with which it has operated a joint venture for 28 years.



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