General Electric Co. agreed to sell its private equity investment group to French alternative asset manager Ardian for about $500 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.
Ardian won the assets earlier this month in an auction process run by Evercore Partners, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
The team in charge of GE Capital Equity, led by Patrick Kocsi, is expected to continue to manage the assets and may receive additional capital to complete future deals by Ardian, the people said. Those details haven't been finalized and management may still change, the people said. The group has a portfolio of $1 billion, according to the company's website.
The decision largely completes GE's withdrawal from the alternative investment field. GE has been unwinding its massive lending arm, GE Capital, to better focus on manufacturing. It agreed to sell most of its real estate portfolio to Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo & Co. for $23 billion in April, and in June the C$268.6 billion ($203 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, bought its U.S. direct lending business for $12 billion.
Ardian, which has $50 billion in assets under management, has acquired GE assets before. In March last year, the firm bought 350 stakes in buyout funds of U.S. market managers for about $1 billion.
Spokesmen for GE and Evercore declined to comment, while a spokeswoman for Paris-based Ardian didn't respond to e-mail requests seeking comment.