Japanese banks among bidders for GE's local finance unit
By Taiga Uranaka
(Reuters) - Japanese banks are among bidders for General Electric Co's <GE.N> local commercial lending and leasing operation, sources told Reuters on Friday.
Orix Corp <8591.T> and the leasing units of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc <8316.T>, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc <8306.T> and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings Inc <8309.T> are among the bidders, the sources said.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, said the finance unit's assets are valued at about $5 billion. (http://on.wsj.com/1i0Aus7)
A spokesman for Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group declined to comment. Officials at Orix, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings were not available for comment.
GE Capital spokeswoman Susan Bishop confirmed the Japanese unit was up for sale, but declined to comment on the bidders.
The sale is part of GE's plan, unveiled in April, to divest about $200 billion in GE Capital assets as the conglomerate moves away from finance to focus on manufacturing.
GE had set a Sept. 4 deadline for the first round of bids for the Japanese unit, hoping to close the deal by the end of November, Reuters reported on July 27.
Last month, GE agreed to sell GE Capital Bank's U.S. online deposits worth $16 billion to Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N>.
In the same month, GE also sold its U.S. healthcare finance unit to credit card lender Capital One Financial Corp <COF.N> for about $9 billion.
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka in Tokyo and Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)