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GE Sells Current to Private Equity Firm

Nov. 6, 2018
The North American consumer lighting business of GE Lighting is not included.

General Electric (GE), Boston, has signed a proposed agreement to sell its Current, powered by GE business to American Industrial Partners (AIP), a New York-based private equity firm that focuses on buying, improving and growing industrial businesses.

Current is a provider of energy efficiency and digital productivity solutions for commercial offices, retail stores, industrial facilities and cities. Its commercial technology portfolio includes LED and traditional lighting solutions, plus a wide variety of connected sensors, controls and software. As part of the proposed sale, Current would maintain use of the GE brand under a licensing agreement.

The North American consumer lighting business of GE Lighting is not included as part of the proposed transaction. GE said it remains actively engaged in the process to sell this business. President and CEO Maryrose Sylvester will continue to lead the Current business under AIP ownership.

“American Industrial Partners would be a great home for Current moving forward. The firm’s deep expertise in operations and engineering, combined with its highly successful track record of industrial business investments, would help us accelerate Current’s growth,” said Sylvester in GE’s release announcing the deal. “We look forward to partnering with the AIP team to further establish Current as a leader in the rapidly growing IoT lighting space.”

Before the deal for Current, AIP’s portfolio includes Ascent Aerospace, Brock industrial maintenance and construction equipment, Optimas fasteners, Gerber textile machinery, Manroland Goss and Contiweb printing equipment, Moly-Cop grinding media and Shape Technologies waterjet cutting systems.

 “GE’s history of innovation, quality, reliability and deep domain expertise is an ideal fit with our investment strategy,” said Eric Baroyan, a Partner of AIP. “We look forward to continuing that legacy by supporting Current’s management team on the key growth initiatives, building upon Current’s extensive product portfolio and leading digital solutions that are helping customers gain energy savings and greater insights into their environment through a sophisticated intelligent ecosystem platform. We are thrilled to partner with Maryrose Sylvester and the leadership team to invest in Current’s industry renowned engineering, manufacturing, digital and supply chain capabilities to capture the significant opportunity of energy efficiency and digitalization ahead of us.”

The proposed transaction is expected to close in early 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, regulatory approvals and consultation processes where required under local law. Financial details were not disclosed. UBS Investment Bank acted as lead financial advisor, and Sidley Austin LLP acted as lead legal advisor to GE. Greentech Capital Advisors and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC also advised GE. Barclays plc acted as financial advisor to AIP. Ropes & Gray LLP and McGuireWoods LLP acted as legal advisors to AIP.