Yahoo  Sep 5  Comment 
Yahoo Finance’s Seana Smith on the stocks making headlines in midday trading Wednesday.
MarketWatch  Sep 5  Comment 
GE shares fall after UBS slashed its price target as the struggling industrial conglomerate continues to ‘plumb the depths of the power market’ with no respite near term.
Motley Fool  Sep 5  Comment 
General Electric might seem down and out now, but there's reason for hope.
CNNMoney.com  Sep 5  Comment 
Craig Melvin's promotion on "Today" -- announced in subtle fashion on Tuesday morning -- is the latest sign that NBC is still treading carefully with its morning show nearly one year after Matt Lauer was fired.
Yahoo  Sep 4  Comment 
President Donald Trump suggested regulators “look at” the broadcast license for Comcast Corp.’s NBC following an accusation that the network impeded reporting about disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein. “NBC FAKE NEWS, which is under...


General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is a multinational conglomerate that manufactures large-scale industrial products, produces consumer appliances, and provides financial services. GE's operations now span the financial services, energy, industrial manufacturing and healthcare. In 2010, GE was ranked the second-largest company in the world by Forbes based on a formula that included sales, net income, assets, and market capitalization.[1]

GE's diversification provides the company with a degree of protection against poor performance in any business segment. Additionally, GE's size enables it to buy and sell companies at opportune times, taking advantage of favorable market conditions. Acquisitions contributed $0.5 billion to net income and $3.4 billion to consolidated revenues in 2009. [2] The company aims to integrate acquired businesses as quickly as possible.

General Electric has announced a new overall strategy of focusing on its healthcare, engine, energy, and other core manufacturing businesses instead of its service-oriented businesses like GE Money and NBC Universal.[3] In October 2010, GE Healthcare announced it would be acquiring Clarient (CLRT), a molecular diagnostics firm, for $587 million in cash.[4] The company hopes that the deal will diversify its revenue base and push further into the medical imaging space.

This strategy change comes at the heels of the 2008 Financial Crisis, which has had a sizable effect on GE, since the company usually generates nearly a third of its revenue from GE Capital Services (GECS), the company's financing arm.[5] On March 12, 2009, S&P downgraded GE to a "AA+" credit rating from its long-held "AAA" rating, citing increased uncertainty relating to GE Capital. GE's prospects are largely tied to the strength of the economic recovery.

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Trends and Forces

Maintaining flexibility through acquisitions

As a large conglomerate with substantial purchasing power, General Electric employs a strategy of acquiring and selling off companies to maximize revenues at any given time. By using this strategy to enter and exit various industries, GE adjusts its portfolio of offerings in order to take advantage of profitable conditions in any one market or industry. For example, improved fuel efficiency in airplane engines has reduced commercial airlines' operating costs, allowing them to expand their fleet of airplanes. GE has responded to this trend by expanding further into the engine production and airplane leasing businesses.[6] Some notable acquisitions in the past several years include:

  • Healthcare
    • GE's acquisitions of Amersham in 2004 and IDX Systems in 2006, which manufacture products used in health care, have helped expand GE's presence in the industry.[7] [8] Revenues for GE's healthcare segment have since increased from $15.0 billion in 2005 to $17.0 billion in 2007. [9]
  • Plastic business
    • GE Supply and Advanced Materials was sold to offset the losses resulting from the price inflation of raw materials, natural gas, and benzene. Unpredictable commodities prices have made it difficult for GE to achieve predicted earnings, driving the company to sell its plastic business. SABIC is 70% owned by the Saudi government, however, which could politicize the issue and present an obstacle to closing the deal. [10]
  • Insurance
    • GE has been selling off its insurance businesses in order to concentrate on expanding its other divisions' presence in emerging markets. With the sales of GE Life, GE Insurance Solutions, and Genworth, the company completely exited the insurance business in 2006.[11]
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GE Revenue % by Region[12]

Focus on International Growth

GE has been greatly expanding its presence across the world, particularly in emerging markets. International markets often provide higher growth potential, driving GE's push into new geographic regions. One particular area with high potential for international growth is cable and television programming, where GE operates 15 cable and satellite brands operating in over 100 countries.[13] Management hopes to double its cable revenue to $500 million. [13] In October 2009, CEO Jeffrey Immelt said the company may double revenues from India to $6 billion in the next 3-4 years. [14]

Though global expansion offers the possibility for higher revenue growth, there are also some risks involved. Laws and regulations, which differ from country to country, can significantly impact GE's performance. For example, in December of 2006, Japan passed a law that lowered the maximum interest rate lenders (such as GE) can charge and put limits on consumer borrowing, leading GE to divest its Japanese businesses.[15]

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Environmental Leadership

In May 2005 GE announced the launch of a "Ecomagination" program intended to develop tomorrow’s solutions such as solar energy, hybrid locomotives, fuel cells, lower-emission aircraft engines, lighter and stronger durable materials, efficient lighting, and water purification technology.[16] The bulbs are rated 8000 hours and guaranteed for five years. The company's increased emphasis on clean technology is an aggressive initiative to bring new technologies help consumers meet pressing environmental challenges. [17]


GE competes against a number of other companies, but most of them are more specialized, focusing in one indl,l,l,l,l,l,l,l,l,l ustry. GE's operations, on the other hand, are spread across many different industries, limiting its exposure to competition from any one company.


  1. Fortune Global 2000
  2. GE 2009 Annual Report, p. 29
  3. WSJ, "The Usual Merger Suspects"
  4. GE to Buy Clarient in $587 Million Deal WSJ
  5. GE 2008 10-K
  6. GE engine production up, orders down in ‘08
  7. GE completes Amersham acquisition
  8. GE Healthcare Completes Acquisition of IDX Systems Corporation
  9. GE 2007 Annual Report, Note 25, page 98
  10. SAUDI ARABIA - The SABIC Perspective.
  11. New York Times, "G.E. Completes Its Exit From Insurance Industry"
  12. GE 2007 Annual Report, page 51
  13. 13.0 13.1 GE 2007 Annual Report, Letter to Investors, page 6
  14. Bloomberg "GE’s Immelt Says Emerging Markets ‘Doing Very Well’"
  15. MarketWatch, GE Consumer Finance latest casualty of Japanese crackdown
  16. New York Times, "It's Getting Crowded on the Environmental Bandwagon"
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