(Updated 11:26 a.m.)
Here is what we know.
The Wall Street Journal has reported Current lighting division to be sold to private-equity firm American Industrial Partners for an undisclosed amount.
The WSJ article quotes Maryrose Sylvester, the CEO and President of Current, but does not quote Bill Lacey, the President and CEO of GE Lighting as the deal does not include the Consumer side of the business, which GE is still trying to sell. There are products, such as low-margin LED tubes that both Current and GE Lighting sell, so in a sense the two businesses might compete against each other on those common products. We reached out to both Current and GE Lighting and GE Lighting had the following response, “From a GE Lighting standpoint, GE remains actively engaged in the process to sell the GE Lighting business. Due to the confidential nature of the process, GE cannot share specifics on that sale process.”
In May of this year, EdisonReport, reported that the sale plan had a 2nd round of binding bids was expected to close on or about June 30th. From there, Current had planned an anticipated signing date in September.
Eric Baroyan, a Partner of AIP, stated, “…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.” Maryrose gets credit for making the sale happen and for turning Current around. In her book, Imagine it Forward, former GE rockstar, Beth Comstock quotes former CEO Jeff Immelt telling Maryrose, “Wow, What a difference a year makes. You have done a great job.” According to the book, Maryrose gave credit to her team, stating, “Yes, this team has transformed themselves…They really own this business. And I couldn’t be more proud.” Maryrose offered a sneaky smile. “Don’t worry, Jeff,” she said. “We got this.”
One interesting note, under the deal, Current would continue using the GE brand under a licensing agreement, which is a bit odd, because originally, Current ran from the GE Logo. When Current first appeared at LIGHTFAIR in 2016, the GE meatball was missing in action. When GE sold Appliances in 2016 to Haier Group, the deal allows the Chinese company to use the GE brand for several decades.
There is an internal meeting today at 1:00 p.m. to discuss the details.