Massachusetts-based smart home company Savant Systems this morning announced a deal to acquire GE Lighting. The division has existed as part of General Electric since 1911, with its origins reaching back even further to Thomas Edison’s work in the space.
Today’s GE Lighting portfolio still largely revolves around bulbs, with some push into more modern corners of the category, including LEDs. It’s also the home to C by GE, a series of smart home products, including bulbs, plugs, switches and color strips that are intended to compete directly with lines like the Philips Hue.
That latter part of the portfolio, at least, makes sense for Savant, a much younger company formed in 2005. Savant will also retain the clout of the GE name, with a long-term licensing agreement attached to the deal. That’s a key part of the agreement, given how much more instantly recognizable the older brand is. The company says the division will retain its Cleveland headquarters, with its 700 employees now falling under the Savant banner.
"At Savant, our mission has always been to become the leading smart home technology company; by acquiring GE Lighting, we're able to move closer to that goal by combining our innovation with GE Lighting's legacy and consumer reach," Savant founder and CEO Bob Madonna told TechCrunch. "By making smart home solutions and lighting technologies more accessible, we at Savant can help customers make their homes as comfortable, safe, and healthy as possible."
BIG news #AVtweeps! Savant to acquire @GELighting, the #1 North American lighting company and one of the most trusted brands in the world. Combined with Savant’s professional smart home solutions, GE Lighting & Savant create a powerhouse of trusted and recognizable brands. pic.twitter.com/xsvaSU547B
— Savant Home (@SavantHome) May 27, 2020
As for GE, the sell-off is a part of a broader shift in focus away from consumer products. “Today’s transaction is another important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company,” GE CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. said in a release tied to the news. “Our GE Lighting colleagues will join a fast-growing leader in home automation that shares their passion for bringing the future to light.”
Financial details have not been disclosed.