Dutch insurer Aegon (NYSE:AEG) announced today that it's selling the majority of its Transamerica Finance assets to General Electric (NYSE:GE) in a deal worth $5.4 billion.

The deal makes sense for Aegon, as the company's $20 billion debt load -- much of which is a result of its 1999 purchase of Transamerica -- has been putting pressure on its credit rating, and the transaction will allow it to reduce its debt by about $1 billion.

For GE, however, the deal points to a growing dependence on its financial services business, and highlights its commitment to lean on it even more in the future.

A great many investors purchase stock in General Electric because it's viewed as one of the most diverse businesses in the world. Indeed, the company is jokingly referred to as a mutual fund, but with each acquisition GE is becoming more of a financial conglomerate than an old-economy industrial giant.

CEO Jeffrey Immelt is committed to growing and transforming GE Finance into a much larger and more flexible financial services firm. Since taking the reigns in 2001, he's injected a great deal of capital into the unit, purchased the lending divisions of Abby National and bankrupt Conseco, and shed GE's underperforming bond insurance business to PMI Group (NYSE:PMI).

Don't get me wrong here, GE is still involved in nearly every business imaginable, and I personally view the strategy as a positive, but as an investor you should be aware of what the bottom line is comprised of. In 2003, GE Finance will account for nearly 50% of earnings, and with Immelt's demonstrated commitment to acquisitions, that number will continue to grow.

Again, I like the strategy, which is why I began a position in GE shares nearly two years ago, but it's important to realize where the earnings, and a good deal of the future growth are coming from.

A final plus side is that, with divisions all over the financial services arena, GE Finance is a diverse business in its own right. So all in all, if the company maintains its discipline and sticks to fairly priced deals that are accretive to earnings (at least in a reasonable timeframe) the strategy could go a long way to returning some sizzle to GE's bottom line.

Mathew Emmert owns shares in General Electric. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.