General Electric (US)

Selected General Electric advertising

General Electric is one of America's oldest and biggest corporate giants, a dominant force in financial services, industry, domestic appliances and technology. For several years, it was also one of the country's foremost mediaowners through its NBC television network and, more recently, the Universal Pictures movie studio. However, it transferred a controlling stake in this division, one of its smallest subsidiaries, to cable operator Comcast at the beginning of 2011, and will surrender the remaining shares in 2013. Interbrand ranks General Electric as one of the world's most valuable brands, and it regularly tops the rankings of the world's most respected companies. Almost from its inception, it has consistently provided a benchmark for global business thinking and management excellence. Long-serving chairman and CEO Jack Welch handed over control to Jeff Immelt in 2001. GE lost little of its dynamism or financial strength in that handover, but the most recent economic downturn has proved more challenging for the group, causing a sharp fall in performance at the group's huge capital finance division.

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Jul 2014: General Electric is preparing a second attempt to spin-off its household appliances division, the smallest business in its portfolio but also one of the oldest, as well as the original core to the company. Among its milestones were the invention of the first light bulb, the first electric toaster, and the first commercially produced automatic washing machines. A previous attempt was made to sell the business in 2008, but no buyer could be found, partly as a result of the growing global financial crisis. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Jun 2014: General Electric finally won over the French government with a complicated revised offer for the power generation business of engineering giant Alstom. Rather than the straight acquisition previously discussed, GE has agreed to swap its rail signaling unit for Alstom's gas turbines business, but the remaining power divisions will operate as three separate joint ventures. The final price has yet to be decided. To clinch the deal, Alstom agreed to sell the French government a 20% holding, making it the group's biggest shareholder, and GE promised to create 1,000 new jobs in France over the next three years. Previously, the state had favoured a rival proposal from Siemens that might have forged a Franco-German giant along similar lines to Airbus. However Siemens subsequently watered down its initial offer, and also declined to cede its own rail business. Alstom is also France's biggest rail engineering company, and makes the country's TGV highspeed trains. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 1st May 2014: General Electric and its German rival Siemens are tussling over a bid for the energy generation division of French manufacturer Alstom. GE had been in the final stages of agreeing a deal to acquire those assets for $12.35bn, leaving Alstom focussed on its locomotive and rail infrastructure operations. (It makes France's TGV high speed trains). However the talks were unexpectedly disrupted by Siemens, which has offered to acquire Alstom's power business while at the same time transferring to the French group its own substantial rail systems. Alstom board has accepted GE's offer but the deal is being undermined by French political interference. "We won't let Alstom sell this national champion behind the back of its shareholders, its employees and the French government," tweeted industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. He and President Hollande would prefer a deal with Siemens, which would at least keep the assets within Europe. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Feb 2014: Ads of the Week: "Childlike Imagination". BBDO New York's latest for GE is lovely - a child's eye view of what the company does - brought to life with superb CGI. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Sep 2013: General Electric announced plans to spin off its consumer finance division, which trades globally under the GE Money brand. This is a substantial business, with revenues last year of $15.6bn and earnings of over $2bn. It is the world's leading non-bank provider of consumer financial services, operating in 55 countries around the world. Although it has sold some of its general loan and leasing units around the globe, it remains a leader in private label credit cards, operating store card businesses for many of the world's best-known retailers, including Walmart. A straight sale of the business is unlikely, given its size, so instead GE is drawing up plans for an IPO of part or all of the business at some point in 2014. 

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GE Healthcare GE Appliances
GE Money GE Tech Infrastructure
GE Financial GE Commercial
GE Energy Monogram
GE Transportation GE Home & Business
GE Lighting Hotpoint

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