As General Electric weighs whether to break up the sprawling conglomerate after a year of financial woes, the former vice chairman of the 125-year-old company Bob Wright warned it would be a “fool’s errand” to do so.
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“It’s worth more whole,” Wright told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney during an interview on Wednesday. “I don’t think it makes any sense to liquidate the company.”
Instead, GE should consider doing some joint ventures and selling off certain pieces of the company and creating separate partnerships. In recent decades, the conglomerate has relinquished control of many businesses, including NBCUniversal. GE raked in nearly $125 billion in 2016 revenue, but still has more than $130 million in debt.
John Flannery, who replaced a scandal-ridden Jeff Immelt as CEO in August, indicated during a conference call several months ago that the board was considering spinning off some of the conglomerate’s assets.
“There are other issues that have got to be dealt with,” Wright said. “Flannery inherited an incredible mess.”
During GE’s annual meeting, held Wednesday near Pittsburgh, shareholders lambasted Immelt and Jack Welch, who ran the company from 1981 to 2001. Welch hand-selected Immelt -- who’s faced a great deal of blame for the company’s undoing -- as his successor.
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Shares of GE dropped to $14 on Wednesday after the credit reporting agency Moody’s Investors Service changed its ratings outlook on the company to Negative.