Exclusive: State Street nears deal for GE's asset management arm - sources

Thu Feb 4, 2016 9:55pm EST
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By Mike Stone

(Reuters) - State Street Corp (STT.N: Quote) is nearing a deal to acquire General Electric Co's (GE.N: Quote) $115 billion asset management business, according to people familiar with the matter, as the U.S. industrial conglomerate continues to shed unloved assets.

State Street, a Boston-based asset manager, has prevailed over other bidders, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Quote), for the business, and is now in the final stages of negotiating a deal with GE, the people said this week.

An agreement could come as early as this month and value GE's asset management business at as much as $500 million, the people added, cautioning that the negotiations could still fall through.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential.

"We have had a very high level of interest from potential acquirers of GE Asset Management (GEAM) in the market and the deal is progressing well. At this time, there is no public announcement about a buyer. Our original deal timeline remains on track, and we still expect to conclude our strategic evaluation this quarter," GE said in statement.

State Street did not respond to a request for comment, while Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

GE's asset management arm managed $115 billion in assets as of June 30. It manages retirement plans for the vast majority of the company's 130,000 U.S. employees, as well as assets for outside institutional investors including third-party retirement plans.

GE has said that proceeds from the transaction would be deposited into its pension trust, increasing assets used to pay GE pension plan benefits. The Fairfield, Connecticut-based company said in its latest annual report that the GE pension plan was underfunded by $15.8 billion at the end of last year, compared to $4.7 billion as of the end of 2013.   Continued...

The General Electric logo is seen in a Sears store in Schaumburg, Illinois, in this September 8, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Jim Young/Files