GE Capital CEO: Priority on sale of private equity-lending assets — Reuters

May 27 (Reuters) – As General Electric Co seeks to unload most of its finance assets, it is prioritizing the sale of businesses that provide lending to U.S. and European private equity firms, and to healthcare-related businesses, GE Capital’s top executive said on Wednesday.

Because these businesses have a lot of “franchise value…customers won’t do any business with us unless they know who the owner is. We have to get those done quickly,” Keith Sherin, chief executive of GE Capital, told an investor conference in New York.

GE Antares, which provides private-equity-related loans, is “in the marketplace, it’s happening quickly,” Sherin said. The process for a similar, smaller business in Europe is also “going quickly,” he said.

People familiar with the matter said this week that Guggenheim Securities Inc, Apollo Global Management LLC, Ares Management LP and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board were among the bidders for GE’s private equity lending arm. Representatives for these firms either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

The sale of that business could come in early June, the people added, asking not to be identified because details of the sale process are confidential.

A healthcare financial services business, which also lends to private equity in healthcare as well as provides real estate loans to operators of assisted living facilities, is also a priority, Sherin said. GE is not selling its healthcare financing business for MRI machines and other equipment, which ties into healthcare products that GE manufacturers.

GE announced plans last month to exit $200 billion worth of finance assets as it focuses on manufacturing of industrial products. Last week, GE CEO Jeff Immelt said he expected to sign $20 billion to $30 billion worth of deals by the end of June, as he gave a faster timeline for the overall exit. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf in New York; Additional reporting by Mike Stone and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)