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China's Qingdao Haier to Pay $5.4B for Appliance Business

Conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) has announced a lucrative sale agreement with China's Qingdao Haier Co. worth $5.4 billion.

After General Electric Co. (GE) scrapped a deal in December to sell its appliances business to Sweden's Electrolux AB in the midst of a Department of Justice court fight, the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate has announced a far more lucrative sale agreement with China's Qingdao Haier Co. worth $5.4 billion. GE said Qingdao Haier will pay 10 times the unit's Ebitda over the last 12 months. The seller expects to make a net gain of 20 cents per share at closing on the deal, though it said it will 'offset the gain with restructuring' in 2016, without elaborating. The companies are targeting a relatively speedy 'mid-2016' closing since Haier, a new player in the U.S. appliances market, is unlikely to face significant antitrust obstacles. The deal, which comes 16 months after GE agreed to sell the business to Electrolux, marks at least GE's third attempt to sell the Louisville, Ky., operation. The latest auction was speedy and hotly contested, with many interested parties and a large amount of private equity interest, a source said. The 10 times Ebitda mulitple Haier will pay compares with the multiple of eight agreed upon with Electrolux in September 2014. That higher multiple and a roughly 50% increase in the unit's Ebitda between 2013 and 2015 pushed the price tag up by a massive $2.1 billion from the $3.3 billion price Electrolux agreed to pay in September 2014.

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