The General Electric Company's (GE's) iconic Appliances division enjoyed a significant role in the company throughout the 20th century, representing one of the most recognized engines of the GE brand. By the 21st century, however, GE had changed its focus to technology and infrastructure businesses, and GE Appliances' contribution represented less than 5% of GE's revenue and profit. Recognizing GE Appliances' lack of fit with the strategic direction of the company, GE embarked upon a sale process in 2008, but when the financial crisis struck, it pivoted to a spin-off, went back to a sale process, and then canceled the process altogether and decided to invest more than $1 billion in GE Appliances—including new products, renovated factories, and reshored manufacturing. It wasn't long before corporate thinking and an active board of directors pushed to restart the sale process of a more attractive GE Appliances asset.
On September 8, 2014, GE announced it had signed an agreement to sell GE Appliances to global consumer-goods company Electrolux for $3.3 billion. This case examines GE Appliances' journey through a 7-month single-party sale negotiation, followed by a 15-month integration planning, government approval, and a court case. Two teaching notes included with this case offer legal and business strategy analysis of the proceedings, making the case ideal for use in undergraduate- or graduate-level business law courses, business strategy courses, and courses focused on antitrust law and mergers and acquisitions.