Remember the old Nike commercials with Bo Jackson? Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball. Bo knows cooking. Well, GE knows airplanes.

GE (NYSE:GE) struck a deal yesterday to buy about $1 billion worth of aircraft assets from CIT Group (NYSE:CIT). The assets are take the form of about $200 million in leases and $700 million in loans on about 380 aircraft.

GE is a huge player in the aircraft loan and lease market. GE Commercial Aviation Services, or GECAS, already manages a fleet of more than 1,600 aircraft. Adding almost 25% more planes to the mix means more opportunity for growth.

According to an article, the growth is likely to come from cross-selling. GECAS works with GE Aircraft Engines to sell and service long-term maintenance agreements on the engines. GE can service not only its own engines, but also engines from competitors like Rolls-Royce and United Technologies' (NYSE:UTX) Pratt & Whitney. And that's the beauty of the GE business model: Make some money on the financing end of things via interest rate spreads while going after bigger returns (more than 25%) on the service side.

Which makes the following comment by CIT management an interesting one:

"This is a thoughtful, strategic move for CIT. We will reinvest the capital from the sale of this portfolio into other commercial finance businesses which have stronger growth opportunities and better returns for our investors," said Rick Wolfert, vice chairman of commercial finance.

Clearly both sides think they are getting a good deal or the deal wouldn't have happened. And neither side would ever admit that it was on the wrong side of a deal. But I think the assets are more valuable under GE than CIT, given GE's broader capabilities for aircraft engines, which contain expensive parts with relatively short replacement lives. In business school, GE's ability to create value across its various subsidiaries is called a parenting advantage, which is something Fools should look for whenever they see deals like asset sales.

Considering the parenting advantage for the aircraft assets, CIT is most likely doing the right thing. Given its long history and broad capabilities in commercial finance, it knows where it wants to put the money.

Fool contributor David Meier owns shares of GE and Nike, but not any of the other companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.