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Dealwatch: CC and Linklaters take lead on GE’s $2.2bn finance unit sale to Japan’s SMBC

Magic Circle duo Clifford Chance (CC) and Linklaters have taken lead advisory roles on General Electric’s $2.2bn sale of its European private equity financing business to a unit of Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC).

The deal saw London-based partners advise with CC asset finance partner Oliver Hipperson acting for GE alongside corporate partner Tim Lewis, while Linklaters partner David Holdsworth acted for SMBC.

The deal is part of GE’s wider strategy focus on high-value industrial business and is subsequently selling most of GE Capital assets. But the company will retain its $1bn investment in the European senior secured loan programme and European loan programme, both joint ventures between affiliates of GE Capital and of Ares Capital.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

Last month saw a host of firms pick up work on the industrial giant’s restructuring, fielding large cross-border teams as it sold $26.5bn of real estate assets. Hogan Lovells led for GE on the real estate sale, with buyers The Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Dechert respectively. Weil, Gotshal & Manges advised GE on the wider restructuring, which will return up to $90bn to shareholders, alongside Sullivan & Cromwell and Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Commenting on the latest transaction, GE Capital chairman and chief executive Keith Sherin said: ‘We had many indications of interest in this business and are pleased to partner with SMBCE on the sale of this franchise. We continue to execute with speed, certainty and value as we work to transform GE to a more focused industrial company.’