UPDATE 4-GE close to selling private equity lender to top Canada pension fund

Sun Jun 7, 2015 11:31pm EDT
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* CPPIB deal to include GE's Antares Capital business -source

* Deal is for more than $10 bln in assets - WSJ

* Ares, Apollo, Guggenheim have also made offers - sources (Adds more background on the business for sale)

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK, June 7 (Reuters) - General Electric Co is near a deal to sell its private equity lending unit to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), a person familiar with the matter said, as the conglomerate takes a big step in a planned massive pullback from its finance operations.

The deal with the CPPIB, Canada's biggest pension fund, is expected to include GE's Antares Capital business, a middle-market lender for private equity- backed transactions, the source said. It does not, however, include all of GE's U.S. sponsor finance business, such as the joint venture with Ares Management, the source added.

GE and the CPPIB are aiming to sign the deal on Monday, the Wall Street Journal first reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter. Terms are still being negotiated for a takeover that would include more than $10 billion of assets but less than the unit's full book of $16 billion, the newspaper added.

GE's retreat from lending and a broader move to reduce its exposure to its finance arm comes as U.S. regulators move to curb aggressive lending by financial institutions that could pose systemic risk.

GE announced plans in April to exit $200 billion worth of finance assets as it focuses on the manufacturing of industrial products.   Continued...