General Electric is reportedly considering abandoning the business largely responsible for its creation more than a century ago.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that GE is talking to investment banks about a possible sale of its consumer lighting business.
GE was famously established when the Edison General Electric Co. — founded by the inventor of the incandescent light bulb — merged with the rival Thomson-Houston Co. in 1892. The company built its business on lighting and other consumer products, but the industrial giant currently focuses on large equipment for the energy, aerospace, transportation and health care sectors.
The Journal noted that the lighting segment is already small — comprising LED lighting and internet-connected technology for homes — and on the decline.
GE is also under increasing pressure from investors to cut costs and boost profits.
A sale of the lighting business — which could see an asking price of $500 million — would join other assets divested by GE in recent years, from appliances, plastics and water equipment to media, electrical systems and lending. The company is also currently in the process of combining its oil and gas division with oilfield services giant Baker Hughes.
"Our job now is to get deeper, not broader,” CEO Jeff Immelt said recently, according to the Journal.
Sources told the paper that the sale would not include GE's Current commercial LED lighting subsidiary.