UPDATE 2-GE launches sales process for U.S. lending units

Sun May 31, 2015 9:02pm EDT
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(Adds responses from possible bidders in final two paragraphs)

NEW YORK May 31 (Reuters) - General Electric Co has launched the sales process for a roughly $40 billion portion of its U.S. commercial lending assets as a part of its broad retreat from its finance businesses, sources familiar with the situation said on Sunday.

The businesses include its commercial distribution finance business, involving dealers of boats and recreational vehicles; equipment finance, which includes loans to buy trucks and construction equipment; and corporate finance, which is for direct lending and leasing to midsize companies, sources said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the sales process for GE's planned divestiture. The conglomerate announced in April it planned to sell most of its finance businesses.

A GE spokesman declined to comment.

These GE business units could all go to a single buyer or could be divided and sold separately, the sources said.

The chunk of the operation involved represents more than half of the $74 billion U.S. commercial lending and leasing portfolio.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, CIT Group Inc, Ally Financial Inc and Wells Fargo & Co are among the potential bidders for the GE assets, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Other large and midsize banks, as well as private-equity firms are expected to show interest, it added.   Continued...