Screenshot of GE Appliances website.

Potential buyers of GE’s Louisville-based appliance division are inspecting local manufacturing plants at Appliance Park, and the company expects to announce a buyer “in a matter of weeks” if not sooner, a source familiar with the matter told IL on Tuesday.

General Electric has been trying to sell the appliance unit because it does not fit into the company’s plan to focus on being an infrastructure and technology company.

GE Appliances employs about 12,000, including about 6,000 at the 900-acre Louisville campus, which manufactures household products like dishwashers, refrigerators and hot water heaters.

GE recently terminated an agreement to sell the unit to Sweden-based AB Electrolux. Federal regulators had sued to stop the $3.3 billion acquisition because they feared a loss of competition and higher prices for consumers.

A new buyer is likely to have a much smaller presence in the U.S. than Electrolux. Various media reports have said the China-based Haier Group is among the suitors. GE has said the appliance business has received interest from more than five serious buyers.

While GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt had told investors about a month ago that he expected to complete an agreement with a new buyer in the first quarter, the source familiar with the matter told IL that negotiations “are moving pretty quickly.”

Representatives of some of the suitors have traveled to Louisville and are touring the local operations this week.

“Things are moving at a rapid pace,” the source said.

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Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.