GE's Healthcare Financial Services unit agreed to acquire the company for $14.50 per share, which represents a near-60% premium over Tuesday's closing price. HPSC provides financing to both medical and dental practices, an area that GE has been looking to beef up, and it manages over $1 billion in assets. The deal will increase GE's Healthcare Financial Services' asset base by 10%.
In a year-ago article, Bill Mann advised GE to pare its financial services arm in order to keep the company true to its industrial roots, but as I recently noted, the company is actually going in the opposite direction.
The firm's Capital unit has been aggressively acquiring financial businesses over the past few months, which has increased the Finance Unit's contribution to earnings to more than 50%.
Make no mistake, these small deals are still a drop in the bucket for GE. Collectively, however, they represent an increasing reliance on the financial services business, and an increasing percentage of GE's future growth is tied to it.
Personally, I like this purchase and I favor the overall strategy because I think it makes good strategic sense for General Electric. But folks should understand what they're getting. GE is no longer the pure industrial company that many investors still consider it to be, and its future is increasingly tied to the happenings of the financial sector.
Mathew Emmert owns shares of GE.