General Electric Co. is nearing a $30 billion-plus deal to combine its aircraft-leasing business with Ireland’s AerCap Holdings NV, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest in a string of moves by the industrial conglomerate to restructure its once-sprawling operations.
Though details of how the deal would be structured couldn’t be learned, it is expected to have a valuation of more than $30 billion, some of the people said. An announcement is expected Monday, assuming the talks don’t fall apart.
The GE unit, known as GE Capital Aviation Services, or Gecas, is the biggest remaining piece of GE Capital, a once-sprawling lending operation that rivaled the biggest U.S. banks but nearly sank the company during the 2008 financial crisis. GE already took a major step back from the lending business in 2015 when it said it would exit the bulk of GE Capital, and a deal for Gecas would represent another big move in that direction.
It would also represent another significant move by GE Chief Executive Larry Culp to right the course of a company that has been battered in recent years by souring prospects for some of its top business lines and a structure that has fallen out of favor with investors.
With more than 1,600 aircraft owned or on order, Gecas is one of the world’s biggest jet-leasing companies, alongside AerCap and Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corp. It leases passenger aircraft made by Boeing Co. and Airbus SE as well as regional jets and cargo planes to customers ranging from flagship airlines to startups. Gecas had $35.86 billion in assets as of Dec. 31.