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High-end smart home brand Savant acquires GE Lighting

The latest move in GE's restructuring comes as Savant seeks to expand its foothold as a supplier of professionally installed smart home systems.

The C by GE Life and Sleep LEDs, two of GE Lighting's recent smart bulb offerings.
Chris Monroe/CNET

Savant Systems, a Massachusetts-based maker of professionally installed smart home systems, has struck a deal with General Electric to purchase the GE Lighting brand, the companies announced Wednesday. The venerable lighting manufacturer, which dates back to the invention of the incandescent light bulb well over 100 years ago, will remain headquartered at its Nela Park facilities in Cleveland. Its 700 employees will transfer to Savant upon the transaction's completion, expected by mid-2020.

The sale is the latest development in GE's multiyear restructuring effort. In 2016, the conglomerate sold off its appliances division to the Chinese manufacturer Haier for $5.6 billion. Last year, GE sold its biopharma unit to Danaher, a medical technology company based in Washington, DC. That move rang in at $21 billion. No financials were disclosed for the GE Lighting sale, but the Wall Street Journal reports that it cost Savant "about $250 million."

"Today's transaction is another important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company," said GE Chairman and CEO Lawrence Culp, Jr. "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."

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Savant, which sells smart home systems centered around security, entertainment, comfort and lighting through a network of dealers and professional installers, says that the acquisition, which includes a long-term licensing deal for the GE Lighting brand, will broaden the reach of both companies. 

"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," said company founder and CEO Robert Madonna. "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."

Recent products from GE Lighting include an expanded lineup of smart bulbs and smart switches for its C by GE line, all of which were designed in partnership with Google to ensure seamless voice controls via Google Assistant.

Read more: The best LED light bulb for every room in your house in 2020