Electrolux to buy General Electric's appliance unit for $3.3 billion

Electrolux, which owns the Eureka and Frigidaire brands, to buy GE's appliance division

Swedish appliance maker Electrolux will buy General Electric Co.'s appliance division for $3.3 billion, the companies announced Monday.

Electrolux, which owns the Frigidaire and Eureka brands, is looking to gain market share in North America and globally. It is the largest home appliance maker after Whirlpool Corp., based in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Electrolux Chief Executive Keith McLoughlin said the acquisition, the largest ever for the company, provides "the scale and opportunity to accelerate our investments in innovation and global growth."

A long-term license agreement with GE will give Electrolux the right to use GE Appliances brand names. The Stockholm appliance maker said GE's U.S. distribution and logistics network will enable it to offer a wider range of products to consumers.

GE confirmed last month that it was in discussions to sell its appliance division, a maker of refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers and dryers, air conditioners and other products for the home.

The company has said it plans to focus its portfolio on core industrial units, which include more profitable businesses in energy, electric power generation, aviation and healthcare.

In a joint statement from the two companies, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said the appliance division is a "perfect fit with Electrolux and its goal of accelerating growth in the U.S."

GE Appliances posted $8.3 billion in sales last year and $381 million in earnings. Based in Louisville, Ky., it employs 12,000 workers at nine factories.

The deal also includes a 48.4% stake in Mexican appliance company Mabe, which develops and manufactures portions of GE Appliance's product line.

Electrolux had sales of about $15.3 billion and 61,000 employees in 2013. Its North American operations are based in Charlotte, N.C.

The deal, which must be approved by regulators, is expected to close in 2015.

GE shares dropped 2 cents to $26.08 after rising as much as 17 centsduring the session.

chad.garland@latimes.com

Twitter: @chadgarland

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