By CCN Markets: Amid a “multiyear turnaround” which has seen GE’s stock drop double digits this year, GE is reportedly looking to offload a large portfolio of startup investments. The Ventures wing of one of America’s oldest companies reportedly owns stakes in more than 100 different companies and is looking for a buyer, according to CNBC.
GE has racked up a debt of more than $100 billion. Share prices have declined by around 23% this year, closing at $10.31 on Thursday. The situation hasn’t looked good in a while for the company. Therefore, offloading its growing investment portfolio, which was established in 2013, might be one of several necessary moves intended to kickstart their cash situation.
The appliance magnate owns equity in health firms, technology startups, and energy companies. They’re reportedly in talks with several different options, including other funds which may be looking to expand into the areas represented.
According to comment from a GE representative, the sale might not include everything. GE might be trying to liquidate some, but continue to earn on others. Megan Newhouse reportedly said in a statement:
“During this time of transformation for GE, we are evaluating strategic options for GE Ventures to continue delivering returns for our shareholders and partners. While we can’t comment specifically on that process, we remain committed to supporting our portfolio companies, business units and partnering with the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Sources for CNBC have claimed that Lazard, an investment bank, had been hired to broker a transfer of assets. Lazard, however, declined to comment to CNBC.
While the move is partially confirmed, we don’t know the full scope of the intended sale. GE has several tricks left up its sleeve, and they’ll be readily necessary as time goes on. The American company’s troubles couldn’t come at a worse time. The Trump Administration is actively flirting with global tariffs, which, in some respects, could benefit companies capable of moving their operations home.
According to its website, GE recently invested $1 billion in American manufacturing. They might find themselves in a more competitive situation if foreign trade tensions don’t ease, which could boost their stock price and correct their long-standing downward trend.
Due to their bulk and mechanical nature, many major appliances remain made in the US. Moving forward, it may become the case that those who do so will be able to make a healthier profit than those who import.
Everyone’s just fighting off the inevitable reality of automation. GE, like everyone else, will mostly employ robots in its menial labor tasks in the future. GE will likely make more money then. The people who remain will be higher skilled and higher paid employees.
What becomes of the rest of humanity remains a question. After all, there has to be demand for products, which gives rise to the idea of the universal basic income. People in creative positions might see their fields flooded, but their work will be constant. People will have more time for leisure activities like reading, for example.
So while GE may be making ultimately short-sighted calls now to keep the company afloat, long-term the reality is that trade war or not, they’ve already put themselves in a position to rise. Having expanded US operations means that its biggest consumer market will have cheaper, quicker access to the goods. The cost of imports will go up, which will make American-made goods even more attractive.
All told, the tariff war will have a multitude of positive and negative effects. Companies that adapt by hedging their bets are likely to do well.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.