The Internet of Things (IoT) is quickly becoming one of the most popular trends in technology. Many consumers who wouldn’t even consider themselves to be “techy” are installing things like smart lights and thermostats in their homes.
On Wednesday, Savant Systems, a Massachusetts-based maker of professional smart home kits, announced that it is acquiring GE Lighting. The deal comes as part of General Electric’s massive restructuring effort and will reportedly be completed by mid-2020.
GE has been associated with light bulbs since they were literally invented. Many people don’t know that the company was partially founded by Thomas Edison himself. In the years since, GE has gotten involved with countless other sectors including medicine and appliances. However, it is now trying to restructure by transforming itself into a focused industrial company.
As such, it no longer has room for its nearly 130-year-old lighting division. The decision to sell it to Savant surely didn’t come easy. Nonetheless, it was probably the right choice.
While the financial details of the transaction haven’t been confirmed, it reportedly cost Savant somewhere around $250 million.
Savant, unlike GE, specializes in selling smart home systems. They include everything from security to entertainment and, of course, lighting. Its founder and CEO Robert Madonna says, “Savant’s mission from the start has been to create the number one smart home brand in the world, and I am confident that the acquisition of GE Lighting has moved us significantly toward that ultimate goal.”
He adds, “We are committed to ensuring that GE Lighting’s long history of industry leadership continues, while bringing exceptional value and reliability to retail partners and consumers as the number one intelligent lighting company worldwide.”
While the division’s ownership will be changing hands, the operations of GE Lighting won’t look much different. It will remain headquartered at its current home in Cleveland, Ohio. Meanwhile, its 700 employees will remain on board and transition to Savant’s payroll once the transaction is complete.
This is now GE’s third major division sale since it announced a restructuring plan. In 2016, it sold its appliances segment to the Chinese manufacturer Haier for $5.6 billion. Then, in 2019, GE sold its biopharmaceutical segment to Danaher, a Washington, D.C. based medical technology company for $21 billion.
GE chairman and CEO Lawrence Culp Jr. said about the sale of GE Lighting, “Today’s transaction is another important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company.”
He went on to say, “Our GE Lighting colleagues will join a fast-growing leader in home automation that shares their passion for bringing the future to light. Together with Savant, GE Lighting will continue its legacy of innovation, while we at GE will continue to advance the infrastructure technologies that are core to our company and draw on the roots of our founder, Thomas Edison.”
Recently, GE Lighting launched an expanded selection of smart bulbs and switches as part of its C by GE line. They were designed in conjunction with Google to ensure that voice control with the Google Assistant is seamless.
Moving forward, it will be intriguing to see how Savant handles its new acquisition—both the smart and non-smart sides of it.