Savant Systems, a Massachusetts-based player in the ‘premium’ smart home automation and control space, acquires GE Lighting. The financial details of the transaction are not disclosed.
GE is going through a profound business transformation with an ever-increasing focus on industrial markets. The company’s industrial transformation business focus is broadly known. GE is the industrial powerhouse that laid the foundations of the ‘Industrial Internet‘ which led to the Industrial Internet Consortium or IIC (Industrial Internet, now called Industrial IoT, originally was more or less the US variant of Industry 4.0.).
Back to the acquisition of GE Lighting by Savant, however. Although GE announced it planned to sell its lighting business a few years ago and since then sold the industrial lighting part, the fact that GE Lighting gets acquired by Savant represents a quite historic moment for GE given the history of the multinational conglomerate which Thomas Edison, inventor of – among many other things – the light bulb, cofounded.
GE chief executive Larry Culp: “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.”
GE sold its industrial lighting business, GE Current, to American Industrial Partners in 2019 (now it is known as GE Current, a Daintree company, after the building automation company Daintree Networks which Current acquired in 2016).
With GE Lighting, GE doesn’t just sell the rest of its lighting business but also the last consumer-oriented business division of the company once the deal is closed, expectedly mid-2020.
The transaction is another important step in the transformation of GE into a more focused industrial company (GE CEO H. Lawrence Culp)
Savant Systems will continue to use the GE brand name. To that end, the proposed transaction includes a long-term brand licensing agreement. Obviously, the brand recognition and reputation of GE in lighting is still significant, with a long history of leadership.
Aim: becoming the number one intelligent lighting company
For Savant, it’s a significant step to realize its ambitions of becoming the number one intelligent lighting company in the world – with lots of retailers on top of its existing channel.
As Robert Madonna, founder, and chief executive of Savant, puts it: “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. 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”.
Savant was founded in 2005. As a brand so far, it was mainly known as a home automation leader in the market of luxury homes, and the company has a partnership approach with, among others, system integrators. With the acquisition of GE Lighting, Savant is, of course, expanding its reach beyond its core business.
Despite its commitment to support innovation in the lamp space and help retailers selling GE Lighting products, the Savant brand remains committed to professional smart home installations and its channel to do so.
Madonna emphasizes that never before connectivity, security, intelligent lighting, and entertainment, all enjoyed within the comforts of home, were more top of mind with consumers than now.
One can also see that statement in the context of the so-called ‘next normal’ with the importance of smart technology and connectivity seemingly being even higher for consumers and their homes than it already was before the pandemic.
GE Lighting, which also offers a range of smart home and home lighting solutions (including ‘C by GE’ and four lighting product families with quite some connected products), employs 700 people in Ohio, who will transfer to Savant upon completion of the transaction. Lighting is one of several areas covered by the Savant Pro technology and solutions. Others include what one can expect from a modern connected home: climate control, entertainment, and energy. They are combined in a single application interface for the homeowner.
All pictures courtesy of their respective owners.