DealZone

GE’s Immelt: Wasn’t “naive” on Areva bid

GE/As GE officials have talked up their post-NBC M&A strategy over the past few weeks, they keep coming back to the one that got away — French nuclear reactor maker Areva’s transmission and distribution business. Areva in November decided not to accept bids from U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co or Japanese industrial Toshiba in favor of a bid from a French consortium, in a move that many saw as politically influenced.

GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt told investors on Tuesday he was not surprised by that turn of events. “We were never naive about where Areva was going to go,” Immelt said. “We were in but we were not stupid.”

GE: bringing small things to life

GENERALELECTRIC/With talk about a multibillion-dollar deal to sell NBC Universal to Comcast burbling away, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt popped the top on a $250 million venture fund designed to buy stakes in small healthcare technology companies.

“What we’re trying to do is embrace the venture community, try and do a series of early-stage and later-stage type investments,” Immelt said in an interview. “We don’t do everything inside our four walls.”

Competing venture capitalists might consider Immelt’s embrace more of a bear hug. GE is taking a similar approach to the energy industry. It has a stake in A123 Systems, the battery maker that was one of the best-received initial public offerings of the year. Scott Malone, our reporter who interviewed Immelt, notes that taking stakes in smaller companies rather than buying them outright gives GE more flexibility. It gains exposure to a wider array of technologies, any one of which could take off.